Microsoft plans to release this summer a Wireless Laser Desktop for Apple's Mac machines, which will be the Microsoft Hardware unit's first-ever peripherals specifically designed for Mac users.
"We've been in the business for twenty years, making products for PC and Mac users. We've just never done one for just Mac users," said Marketing Communication Manager Sean Butterworth. "While we've had great success selling our desktops to Mac users, we've gotten feedback that there are still things that are different on a PC keyboard."
Microsoft's new Mac keyboards will include a silver finish on a wireless unit; comfort curve design; spill resistance; one-touch access to e-mail, chat, music, photos and the Web. The accompanying wireless laser mouse will feature a tilt wheel and magnifier tool.
"We've really re-jiggered the layout of the keyboard to mimic Mac users' favorites, such as an eject key and hot keys specific to the Mac applications they use the most," said Butterworth. "We've even made the software more Mac friendly."
While the new keyboard lacks the Apple logo on the key to the left of the space bar, the "clover" key will perform all the Mac-specific functions.
Apple declined Microsoft's request to include the Apple logo on the Microsoft keyboard.
"We went to Apple and applied for the right to use an Apple logo and were denied," said Butterworth. "But I can assure you that the clover key has the same functionality as the Apple key."
The new keyboard announcement comes on the heels of another combined Microsoft/Apple effort announced earlier this week at MacWorld.
Microsoft said it will continue developing Office programs for Macs for the next five years, while Apple will continue giving Microsoft access to the key technologies needed for the programs.
"While these products are separately managed, this is definitely part of a larger strategy of making it easy as possible for Mac users to have access to our innovations," Butterworth said.
Not all is roses in Microsoft-Apple land, however. Microsoft has quietly decided to cease future development of Windows Media Player for the Mac, company officials acknowledged earlier this week.
The new Mac keyboards will ship in June, with a price tag of about $100 each, according to Microsoft.
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