Look at the technology gadget landscape and what do you see? Apple, of course. Samsung. A gazillion Chinese made smartphones and personal computers. Where is Microsoft?
That’s the word I would use. Microsoft, having dropped albatross CEO Steve Ballmer, is changing itself, reinventing itself, trying almost desperately to create new businesses that are not dependent upon Windows and Office, the former cash cows that still breed cash.
What has Apple done for Microsoft?
It’s a long list, but let’s start with the obvious. The Mac, iPhone, and iPad are places where Microsoft can sell Office, Office subscriptions, and keep a growing base of loyal customers that love what Apple makes but also use what Microsoft publishes. Microsoft makes a ton of money from Mac users with Office, and likely as much from the Office subscription model from iOS users.
What has Microsoft done for Apple?
Aside from a $150-million or so investment back when Steve Jobs took over the flailing Cupertino company in 1997 (and keeping the hounds of anti-trust at bay), Apple gives Microsoft a target; a rich garden of customers to cultivate, a research and development group for Surface PC designs (most of which look like Mac notebooks; as does much of the rest of the industry).
What has Apple done to Microsoft?
This is a far different story. Apple became the standard bearer for the post-PC era with mobile devices led by iPhone and iPad, both of which combined– along with intellectual property thief, Google (and you wonder why my website’s Google rankings are so poor)– to mostly destroy anything left of Microsoft’s mostly anemic mobile phone business. In mobile, Microsoft is a loser. Or, is it?
What has Microsoft done to Apple?
This is a different story, too. I haven’t done a full count, but I’m willing to bet that Microsoft’s apps for iOS are about the number of apps Apple makes for its own customers. And, similarly, most of Microsoft’s apps are free, too. In other words, Microsoft makes plenty of decent applications for Apple’s customers that compete in many ways with Apple’s own apps.
Why does Apple allow that? After all, the company has more than 1-billion iOS customers and Microsoft’s mobile device customers must number well into the thousands. Instead, Microsoft keeps millions of customers in the fold– those who use iOS Office and other apps; again, mostly free.
Apple remains the only major gadget maker that does not put an array of applications on Google’s Android platform or on Microsoft’s Windows (is Windows Phone still around?) platform. Apple keeps to itself and mostly avoids other platforms (think Apple Music on Android, and iTunes on Windows), while Google, Microsoft, and everyone else uses Apple’s one billion customers for their own gain.
What does Apple get? Apple’s customers get choices, and that’s good for Mac, iPhone, and iPad customers.