By MG Siegler
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) should hate one another right now. I mean, really hate each other. After decades of domination, Microsoft has watched their rival move from death’s door to become the most valuable company in the world — over $200 billion more valuable than Microsoft itself. And it was Microsoft who helped get Apple there, remember, with a timely cash infusion in 1997.
Steve Ballmer laughed off the iPhone, which eventually helped kill off Windows Mobile — and it’s now bigger than all of Microsoft’s businesses combined. And the company shrugged off the iPad, even as it established a category, tablets, which Microsoft itself had been trying to establish for years.
Now Apple’s iOS ecosystem threatens the very fabric of Microsoft. Given the rise of the iPhone and iPad, and the halo-effect they’re having on the Mac, products like Windows and Office don’t hold the same importance that they once did in the computing world. And their shine is ever-diminishing. People are realizing that they just don’t need them anymore. Apple’s rise is slowly killing the Microsoft we’ve all known for years.
And yet, Microsoft rarely bashes Apple publicly anymore. In fact, they often take their side on arguments or come to their defense on issues. Again, these were once bitter rivals. And these times should be the battleground for their bloodiest battles yet. Instead, it’s all holding hands, s’mores, and Kumbaya.
Why? Because Microsoft has an enemy they hate much worse than Apple. And Apple has the same enemy. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG).
This is nothing new, but the animosity continues to build between the parties. Look at the news today, for example. Following last week’s headlines that Google was bypassing privacy settings in Apple’s mobile Safari browser, Microsoft today says that Google is doing the same thing to their own IE browser. Meanwhile, Google says that Microsoft is full of shit, while Apple is probably off in the corner smiling.
It wasn’t long ago that Apple and Google were aligned against Microsoft. Remember, then-Google CEO Eric Schmidt was on Apple’s board and the two sides worked closely on projects like the original iPhone. Then Android came along and destroyed that relationship. While Google probably didn’t consider it at the time, this set the stage for Microsoft and Apple to align on things like the Nortel patents.
Microsoft should probably be going all-in to combat the rise of iOS, but instead they seem far more concerned with spending obscene amounts of money to bolster Bing as a Google competitor. And they seem to truly enjoy undermining Android by way of licensing agreements with key OEM partners.
Meanwhile, Apple seems downright bored if you ask them about Microsoft as a competitor. But ask about Google (Android in particular) and the knives come out.
Maybe this all just means that Google is doing something right. They have all the biggest technology companies in the world pointing guns right at them. You don’t get to the top without pissing off people along the way. But the way Google has managed to unify all of these main rivals against them should at the very least give them pause. Microsoft and Apple are the two biggest examples. But Facebook and Twitter are finding common ground against Google as well thanks to the search giant’s foray into the social realm.
All of this makes for a fascinating situation in the tech world. On one side there’s Google. On the other side there’s basically everyone else, with new members seemingly joining on a daily basis. And this side is filled with rivals that under any other circumstance would hate each other. But here they’re allied. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
[image: New Line Cinemas]