In the face of all the bad news surrounding Apple Computer, Microsoft has made a rare public mention of their view of the situation.

"Clearly this is an unsettling time for Apple," said Microsoft spokesman John Pinette. "We wish them the best in addressing their issues."

Despite the Macintosh's weak marketshare, now valued at less than 3% worldwide, Microsoft has a strong Macintosh application business. Earlier this year, Bill Gates met with Apple's then-CEO Gil Amelio to discuss the possibility of closer ties between the two companies. Gates saw no reason to devote many resources to the flailing company, however.

"People like Apple and would like them to succeed," Gates said after the meeting. "But that doesn't mean they will succeed."

Meanwhile, details are starting to emerge in the Amelio/Hancock split. Ellen Hancock, who has never gotten along with Steve Jobs, recently commented on the resignations.

"I hope with these changes that Apple does not lose sight of its own market and does not twist it to become the NeXT market," she said, adding that a focus on enterprise computing would be "a mistake. That was not the purpose of the acquisition: The purpose was not to increase the NeXT market.