Apple, Microsoft agree five-year pact

Microsoft has signed a deal with Apple to continue to support Office on the Mac for the next five years

Microsoft has promised it will keep producing software for the Mac for a minimum of five years.

Under a new agreement between Microsoft and Apple announced at Macworld, the software giant will continue to produce versions of Office for both PowerPC and the new Intel Macs into the next decade at least.

Roz Ho, GM of Microsoft's Macintosh business unit, said of the deal: "This should leave no doubt in your mind we're here to stay and we're in it for the long term," adding that 2005 had been the best year to date for Office on the Mac.

Microsoft also revealed a number of updates to its Apple-flavoured offerings at Macworld, including new features for Messenger for Mac.

The relationship between Apple and Microsoft has been an interesting one of late. Microsoft recently announced it intended to stop development of its Iternet Explorer browser for Macs, while late last year, Apple started to offer 50 percent of its Office software for the Mac.

However, while Office may be permitted to run on the Mac platform, there will be no such unequivocal welcome for Windows.

An Apple spokesman said: "Apple has no plans to sell or support Windows on this platform but we have no plans to preclude that."