Let’s take a trip back in time. The year is 1994, and two tech giants are going to war over copyright. They are Microsoft and Apple, and they are fighting over a copyright claim by Apple over Microsoft and HP’s use of graphical user interface elements from the Macintosh OS. The resulting court case, Apple Computer, Inc. v. Microsoft Corporation, ended with a ruling in Microsoft’s favor, mostly due to a contractual license agreement between the two.
The matter was never fully settled by the case though. Instead, negotiations that took place several years later resulted in the two companies agreeing to make Internet Explorer Mac’s default browser. Microsoft also agreed to keep developing Office for the Mac. Most importantly though, Microsoft invested $150 million into Apple to keep it afloat.
This series of events, which happened while Steve Jobs was being reinstated as the CEO of Apple, set the stage for what is happening today between Microsoft, Apple, and Google (). While Microsoft and Apple are still bitter rivals, several recent events have inadvertently brought them closer together in order to fight their common enemy: Google.
The phrase “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” comes to mind. Let’s explore how we got to this tipping point.