I realize I'm way over my daily blog limit, but I'm going to go out on a limb and guess why we've seen Safari and Keynote released for Mac OS.

First, let's look at the news from the MacWorld Expo again. Safari is obviously slated to be the future default, on-the-desktop browser for Mac OS X. That would replace IE. Keynote is a Powerpoint replacement. That would replace, um, Powerpoint.

Currently Microsoft Office for OS X contains four products, namely Word X, Excel X, Entourage X, and PowerPoint X. It's no secret that sales of Office X were not what Microsoft had hoped. I wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft is beginning to think what many others already have, that the Mac market isn't big enough to give grade-A support. (Before you flame, I think many of these people come right back, change their minds, and support the Mac again, but just take a look at games on Mac, eg. Sales expectations seem to outpace reality on a regular basis.)

I'm going to guess that Microsoft threatened to stop producing Powerpoint and perhaps Entourage -- and possibly all of Office -- for the Mac. I mean what hard core Mac user wouldn't still buy Office for their box (provided they were buying it in the past) even if Powerpoint and Entourage disappeared? And if somebody just had to have Powerpoint, well, we know where they could get it, on an inexpensive Windows-powered Intel box down at Wal-Mart.

Microsoft would continue selling, and counting their cash from, their best sellers, Word and Excel, and would force people who needed the balance of Office more than they needed iMovie over to Windows.

I think Apple responded to that threat. First they responded by courting, briefly and off the record, OpenOffice. Then they took a more realistic look at that huge codebase and figured out they couldn't make it their own. They could, however, turn that little app they'd been using to make Jobs' keynote presentations (I'll call it, "AppleWorks Presentation") into a real Powerpoint replacement with the addition of an in-house Powerpoint filter and some higher quality features. Hey Microsoft! Don't want to ride our backs with sales of Office? Don't! We've got our own office, thank you very much.

And, what's more, they could up the ante by completely eliminating their dependence on Microsoft by removing IE from new Macs. Whether Apple goes through with all the way through with it remains to be seen, but I'm pretty confident IE won't be the featured browser in OS X within the year if they can get the Safari bugs out.

It's good to see the little guy call Microsoft's bluff, and that wasn't such a long limb after all.