Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were friends and colleagues. They have been friends even before Apple and Microsoft came into play. They both were enthusiasts and tech magnet persons. They had a vision for the world. Problem was that Bill Gates was more of a business person and Steve Jobs was happy with the way things were!
When Apple I was launched and the project for Apple II started, Gates asked Jobs if he wanted to make a License for the full-featured Basic. Jobs declined as he was happy with the progress. And so they went on two separate ways.
When Apple showed Apple II in the West Coast Computer Fair in April 1977, they were overwhelmed with loads of complaints. Because the machine did not understand the number below -32768 or above 32767. It became a bit problematic as people were using a computer for accounting and the machine did not understand the number more than the range. Although they could still process apps of that time using the machine, the calculation problem made it huge for consumers to complain about it. After Apple heard all of these complaints, they had to take an action. So, they agreed to license Microsoft Basic Software within a flat price of $31000 of that time. For Apple, this license created an operating system called “AppleSoft Basic”. For Microsoft, it saved them from near Bankruptcy. Microsoft previously licensed Commodore for their PET system and nearly lost a lot of money. But Apple II was a runaway hit. Over six million copies were sold in their 16 years run on the market!
Jobs and Gates Separation
Steve Jobs approached Bill Gates to write apps for their 1984 Macintosh known as Mac now, Gates took the opportunity to make productivity apps from it. In fact, the Microsoft Office software of today’s world came from Macintosh in mind. The word, excel, and PowerPoint were all published in 1985 was exclusively for Macintosh. They were supporting each other as friends for a long time. The problem occurs when Gates reviewed Apple’s business plan and thought it did not have the projection it needs. Gates wanted Apple to license its software. For Steve, the thought of licensing their product to other hardware companies was unthinkable. So, Gates went back to Washington and began Microsofts own operating system known as Windows.
Microsoft published its first-ever version of Windows 1.0 in November 1985. It had a mixed review as people were having high hopes on it. But there was one thing which was very noticeable was that how closely it resembles Apple’s operating system Macintosh 1, with clickable icons, cursor, multiple windows for multitasking. Another problem was it needed an expensive computer to run the system because of the high system requirement.
Windows 2.0 was published in 1987. It was so much visually in pair with Apple’s Macintosh system that Jobs had it enough and accused Gates of copying their system. But he was in no position to take legal action for it as he was removed from the board of director and was replaced by John Scully as the CEO.
The Legal Action
When John Scully became the new CEO, Jobs requested him not to sue Microsoft. Since the huge selling point of Macintosh was the huge library software. And the reason was the case would be very difficult to win. Since the copyright of “looks and feels” would not justify the case. But Scully went ahead anyway and filed a case in July 1994. The case was dismissed in September of the same year in favor of Microsoft. But it made them think that Gates was right about licensing software to the different manufacturers as he made tons of profit from it.
The Dominance of Microsoft
In 1990, Windows was used in 84% of computers worldwide which increased to 90% in the year 1994. As Microsoft was getting the better of market share and making more advanced and successful software, the relationship between Apple and Microsoft was getting worse and worse. It was getting so intense that Steve Jobs made a statement about “Microsoft only make third-rate products’. But things changed when Jobs got back to Apple in 1996 and listed Microsoft as they helped get Apple back on profitability. Microsoft invested $150m in stock and they paid an additional $100m for copyright infringements.
Apple is back!
In August 1998, Apple launched its first-ever iMac and that was the start. 3 years later, they launched the first-ever iPod and that secure their status as the tech company and lifestyle. Microsoft took action to take charge of the market of iPod by launching Zune. But it did not get as much success as it was thought of. Apple had essentially total market dominance on the portable music industry. Microsoft thought it was a good idea to enter and compete. It did not work in Microsoft’s favor as Apple had planned for different regions and audiences. They released iTunes for windows, made changing port from firewire to USB powered 30 pin connector, all helped them have total dominance in the music industry as a tech giant. Seems they learned from their journey and made it to the top with all of it in mind. Now Apple has a market capitalization of $1993B whereas Microsoft has $1550B makes us learn where they stand as the companies. And Apple is leading to branding and market share.