When Steve Jobs took over at Apple in 1997 his agenda was simple. Shore up the Mac, conserve money, trim down the product line, get to profitability, and focus on the future. Oh, and make sure Microsoft continued to develop Office for the Mac.
Microsoft, haunted by the government for monopoly abuse, wanted to keep Apple alive, if only on life support, so Bill Gates agreed to a five year Office development deal, and tossed in a $150-million investment to sweeten the deal, and keep the feds at bay.
That was then and this is now. Today, the Mac is profitable beyond belief, Microsoft is beleaguered, and Apple has crushed Windows in smartphones and tablets.
Quick, without naming email, browser, or office suite, can you name one of the most used pieces of software on planet earth?
Guess what? There’s no iTunes on Windows Phone or Windows RT, and Apple isn’t as likely to be as helpful to Microsoft as Microsoft was to Apple back in 1997.
Why not? Why should Apple help out Microsoft during this time of need? Apple was beleaguered back in the day, and Microsoft helped out? Why doesn’t Apple help Microsoft today?
Because Apple was in dire straights and needed a helping hand, even if one from an enemy. Microsoft remains cash rich because of Windows and Office, but has stumbled badly in mobile devices, relegated to a niche player as Apple and Samsung sew up the profits.
Microsoft could easily help itself by building a better phone, or a better tablet. Instead, mediocrity rules at Microsoft and Apple has little incentive or a compelling reason to help out their former enemy and investor in this time of need.
Paraphrasing the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld, there’s ‘no iTunes for you‘, Microsoft.