In 1993, Word 6.0 was the biggest release, feature‐wise, Microsoft had ever produced.
In addition to all the new features, the team had another very large objective. Their code base had diverged, and it was extremely slow and costly for Microsoft to implement Word separately for each platform: Windows, DOS, and Mac. This code convergence effort was supposed to save Microsoft substantial development time, and—they tried to convince themselves—improve the offering since Word would have the same features on every platform.
It also meant that there was great pressure to get the release out so they could start to gain the efficiencies of a single code base.
At the time, Word for Mac was a relatively small market. It was only $60 million, versus Windows, which at that point was more than a $1 billion market. If you remember, back then Windows machines absolutely dominated, and the future of Apple was not a sure thing. However, the Mac community was also very vocal—with passionate fans of their platform—and this community had very little love for Microsoft.
PowerMacs were just hitting the market, which had significantly faster chips and more memory. Most of the team members were using those new computers because the Word 6.0 beta in its early days was just too slow on regular Macs. Of course, most of the Mac user base was not on new PowerMacs—they were on regular Macs. Hardware upgrade cycles were much slower then.
So, when Microsoft ...