Disney making service for Mac

What's good for the iMac is good for Disney, and vice versa.

Jim Hu Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Jim Hu
covers home broadband services and the Net's portal giants.
Jim Hu
2 min read
What's good for Apple Computer's iMac is good for Disney, and vice versa.

That's expected to be one of the announcements coming out of this week's Macworld trade show, at which Disney is hosting a booth.

For instance, sources say Disney and Apple are expected to announce that the media and entertainment giant's fee-based online service for children, the Daily Blast, will become compatible for all Macintoshes, including iMacs.

Until now, the popular service only did Windows--Microsoft Windows, that is--frustrating Mac loyalists. (Microsoft and Disney had a marketing agreement).

Sources said the product is supposed to be Mac-compatible later this month.

Disney already is offering a beta test for its online service for the Mac. The minimum system requirements include a Power PC, Mac OS 7.5.5, and Internet Explorer 4.0 or Netscape 4.0 browser. Users also can enter a sweepstakes to win an iMac.

In addition to the Daily Blast, Disney software titles will run on the iMac, according to Apple's Web site. "With edutainment titles like Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree...you just might have to wait until your child's bedtime to get your hands on the family iMac," it reads.

Disney and Apple declined comment.

Both companies are trying to grab the same audience, so it makes sense for them to work together. Apple interim chief executive Steve Jobs is no stranger to Mickey Mouse, either. Jobs also is CEO and chairman of Pixar, which is partly owned by Disney. The two companies worked together to produce the blockbuster movie, Toy Story. Some Disney Online executives, such as president Richard Wolpert, used to work at the computer maker.

Disney and Apple haven't always had an ideal working relationship, however. When the Daily Blast launched in March of last year, Disney committed a hardware faux pas--at least according to some Apple users--because the service did not run on Macs.

Mac loyalists also questioned why Disney would exclude Mac users, since both are chasing the same education market. Apple always has prided itself on reaching the consumer and education sectors.

Disney said that Daily Blast didn't run on Macs because some of the software plug-ins that Disney used were not Mac-compatible. Some Disney sources also expressed frustration about working with Apple during its previous management regime. Calls were placed directly to then-CEO Gil Amelio to address the problem.

The goal had been to make Daily Blast run on the Mac by last summer, but that deadline slipped. "Disney Online is working diligently with our plug-in partners to create an enjoyable experience for Macintosh users," Disney's Web site reads. "This will be available soon."

Reporter Jim Davis contributed to this report.