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Disney only does Windows

For now it has chosen Microsoft's operating system--and not Apple's--to run Disney's Daily Blast, its newly launched children's service.

Barely a day into its foray into cyberspace with an online kids product, the Walt Disney Company already has committed a hardware faux pas, at least according to some Apple Computer loyalists.

The Mac users are unhappy that the creator of the "happiest place on earth"--at least initially--has chosen Microsoft's operating system and not Apple's to run Disney's Daily Blast, its newly launched service that provides online games, stories, sports and news to children aged 3 to 12. When you go to Disney's new site, a message politely informs you: "We require Windows 95 operating system."

"I was amazed to hear that Disney would enter the free-wheeling, open-spirited, cross-platform Web by announcing that their users must have the proprietary Microsoft Windows 95 operating system," said Jay Marathe of Pasadena, California. "It's time for Disney to stop insisting that kids get rid of their favorite educational toy--the Macintosh."

The Mac loyalists also questioned the business wisdom of Disney's strategy, pointing out that the same audience that the entertainment giant is trying to win over just happens to be big Mac users. Apple says its computers are the No. 1 brand in the U.S. education market. The company recently cited a survey showing that 60 percent of the U.S. schools during the 1995-1996 school year, compared with 29 percent for PCs based on the Microsoft-Intel platform.

What's more, many Disney executives, including Disney Online President Jake Winebaum, are longtime Mac fans and Powerbook users.

"It's not a 'Disney hates the Mac' scenario," a Disney Online spokeswoman explained.

She said Disney's Daily Blast does not currently run on Macs because some of the software plug-ins that Disney liked were not Mac-compatible when the company began designing the sites. She hastened to add that Daily Blast was expected to be Mac compatible by this summer.

Estimates show that about 5 percent of the people who log on to Disney's corporate Web site, "disney.com," are Mac users, she added.

An Apple spokeswoman had no comment, except to say that Apple and Disney have a good business relationship in collaborating on software products for children, such as CD-ROMs.

These compatibility problems are not new for Mac users, largely because the Microsoft-Intel platform has a larger installed base and, in turn, a potentially bigger market.

For example, when Pacific Bell launched its Internet-access product last year, the system didn't run on Macs initially because of the browser that was used. That occurred even though California is a bastion of Mac users and Apple chief executive Gil Amelio sits on parent company Pacific Telesis' board of directors.

The Pac Bell Net-access product now runs on Apple as well as Microsoft-Intel platforms.