Mac System 6.0 Stirs Upgrades

Tom Quinlan
Computer Reseller News

June 20, 1988

CUPERTINO, Calif. - Apple Computer Inc.'s new Macintosh operating-system upgrade is not completely compatible with some existing applications, and it is causing software developers to scramble to produce upgrades and temporary fixes.

Ashton-Tate Corp., Acius Inc., Supermac Technology and Microsoft Corp. are among those companies reporting glitches with some existing software, and they are taking various steps to correct the problems.

The concern centered on Apple's introduction of System Software Release 6.0, a system upgrade that added the ability for users to create their own macros, to zoom in on portions of the screen, and that included an enhanced version of MultiFinder.

Apple is selling the system-software upgrade for $49, and customers buying the Macintosh between May 13 and Aug. 5 will receive a free upgrade.

Although the incompatibility between some applications software and Apple's systems software-with most of the problems involving transfer of files-forced software developers to offer immediate upgrades to their customers, most companies discounted the effect the problems would have on sales.

Early versions of Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet, particularly version 1.4 and lower, have "some minor problems working with System 6.0," said Microsoft's product manager for Macintosh products, Mike Slade.

However, version 1.06 and the latest Excel release-Excel 1.5, which was introduced a week before Apple started shipping its System Software Release 6.0-work perfectly with the operating-system software, said Slade.

"We were already offering free upgrades for Excel 1.04 users who wanted to upgrade to version 1.06," Slade said.

Now that Microsoft has begun shipping Excel 1.5, the software developer is suggesting that users with earlier versions upgrade their software for $25.

Another Microsoft program having difficulty with Apple's system software is Microsoft Works, which Microsoft is fixing with a downloadable "patch" over the CompuServe electronic database, or giving free to users who call Microsoft directly.

Acius is sending free upgrades of its 4th Dimension database product to all registered users, despite starting shipments of 4th Dimension 1.06 the same week that Apple introduced its operating-system upgrade.

"It was a very small problem that needed to be fixed," said Will Mayall, vice president of engineering for Acius.

Ashton-Tate also moved quickly to send new versions of its Dictionary and File disks for its FullWrite Professional package, which the company acquired when it bought Ann Arbor Software.

According to an Apple spokeswoman, most companies were informed well in advance that operating-system demands would make it impossible for Apple to support some features that software companies had built into their software.

Most companies have already incorporated changes in their software that recognize the changes Apple made in System 6.0, according to the spokeswoman, or have provided temporary, easy-to-use solutions.

Copyright 1988 CMP Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.