Apple vs Microsoft

Back in the late 1990s, a made-for-TV movie came out depicting the rise of tech industry titans from their early days into their successful years. It was called Pirates of Silicon Valley. For anyone with an interest in technology, the movie was interesting, and at times unintentionally hilarious, such as one scene in which young Steve Jobs and young Bill Gates are discussing their respective companies. One says to the other with a steely gaze, "You're weak in databases. We can give you databases." The other pauses, then replies, "I don't think so."

The conclusion reached by the movie is that Gates had "won". He had beaten Jobs. One scene depicted an Apple conference in which Bill Gates appeared on the big screen on the stage to give a short speech announcing some plans for the two companies to work together. "He had become Big Brother" said the narrator, alluding to the famous Apple Super Bowl ad from a decade earlier.

At the time the movie was made, Jobs had just come back to the company he had founded after being dismissed in the mid-80s. He would quickly lead its resurgence.

At today's market close, Apple's market capitalization exceeded that of Microsoft's. In this layman's eye, Apple makes innovative products that anyone can pick up and intuitively start using while Microsoft simply puts out new versions of bloated software, getting by on network effect inertia.

Granted, Gates has been gone from Microsoft for some time now. But I wonder what the fates of Microsoft and Apple would have been had Jobs not missed over a decade of the company's history.

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MS has recently been changing

MS has recently been changing that perception-- Windows 7 being a notable example. There's definitely evidence that Microsoft hasn't been coasting by in that kind of way for at least 3 years now.

Apple = hype

This just proves that people are falling for Apple's aggressive marketing. There's really nothing special about Apple's products except hype. Everything Apple creates is done by other companies at cheaper prices (and with functional, open software as well, like Google's Android OS)

M$ is almost just as bad, except they improve on the ideas stolen from others, at least to a degree.

Jobs needed time with NeXT

NeXT's hardware agnostic compilers could never have come out of a company like Apple that was dedicated to making the "whole widget". It is those compilers and the mindset that maintains them that Steve Jobs is using to vault Apple to new heights.

Take Safari. Nobody understood why Jobs made a dinky little browser like Safari and rammed it into the Internet's consciousness. Nobody understood it at least until the iPhone was unveiled and the same rendering engine was available for the mobile phone. Hardware agnostic compilers met the whole widget mentality that was always's Apple's trademark and very beautiful things started happening.

They still are and not all of them have been unveiled yet. All you need is the talent to read code and the will to keep an eye on the parts of Apple's code that have been open sourced. A number of things stubs are sitting there in open view, waiting for some secret part of Apple R&D to finish the other 9/10ths of the feature and for the next available keynote speech.