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Microsoft Debuts Keyboard Designed for the Mac

By Erika Morphy MacNewsWorld ECT News Network
Jun 1, 2006 5:00 AM PT

Microsoft has introduced its first Mac-specific desktop, called Wireless Laser Desktop for Mac, which includes a wireless 'Comfort Curve' keyboard and a wireless high definition laser mouse.

Microsoft Debuts Keyboard Designed for the Mac

In many respects, Mac users will be very familiar with the layout. Mac devotees will find the Control, Option and Command buttons are right where they are supposed to be on this keyboard, for instance. Nor is there a Windows start button anywhere to be found.

The desktop system is compatible with the new Intel-based Mac machines as well as PowerPC models.

"The Hardware team has been creating Mac-compatible peripherals for many years," said Rusty Jeffress, general manager of the Microsoft Hardware team at Microsoft. "For this product, we went back to the drawing board with the specific requests of our Mac users, and are excited to deliver our first Mac-specific keyboard and mouse that provide the tools and features Mac users need to be productive."

Among the design features:

  • A Zoom Slider to allow consumers to get a closer look at digital pictures and maps;
  • My Favorites Keys, which can be customized to bring up favorite photos, folders, files and Web pages;
  • The eject key that lets users easily eject CDs and DVDs.
  • Hot Keys that offer one-touch access to iChat, iTunes and iPhoto.

The Microsoft Wireless Laser Desktop for Mac will be available this summer for an estimated retail price of US$99.95.

Looks Count

One crucial element is missing, according to JupiterResearch senior analyst Joe Wilcox. "It looks like a Microsoft keyboard -- not a Mac keyboard," he told MacNewsWorld.

"Mac users tend to be very design conscious, and other peripheral manufacturers are aware of that. It is not uncommon for Mac users to make appearance a top purchasing criteria."

Microsoft is, without a doubt, still making money from Mac, especially through its Mac Office and MSN Messenger. "In January, they announced a new commitment to support Office Mac for the foreseeable future," Wilcox pointed out.

That said, he is not sure this keyboard is the best use of Microsoft's resources in targeting the Mac client base. "Looks do matter," he concluded.

Appealing to Mac Users

Microsoft believes that the keyboard will strengthen its lineup of products for Mac users, according to Scott Erickson, director of product management and marketing for the Macintosh Business Unit at Microsoft.

"This launch further demonstrates Microsoft's commitment to enhancing the computing experience for Mac users," he said. "We were able to preview the product at Macworld this January and saw firsthand the very favorable response from Mac customers."


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