Enderle: What if Microsoft bought Apple?

“I spent a lot of time last week reading the Microsoft employee blogs and apparently there is some reasonably strong feeling among many folks who work there that the wrong ‘Steve’ is running the company. This is, in my view, a ‘grass is greener on the other side of the fence’ type of perception — since ‘the other Steve,’ Jobs, that is, is neither known for being a good software guy nor being anywhere near as employee-focused as Microsoft’s executives are. He does, however, have skills that Microsoft could use desperately right now,” Rob Enderle writes for TechNewsWorld. “Clearly there would be some anti-trust hurdles in an acquisition of Apple by Microsoft, but the oil companies seem to be able to get through those reasonably well and both Apple and Microsoft have clearly done the ‘impossible’ before. Setting these concerns aside, let’s imagine what might result from such a merger.”

“While it is easy to point to the acquisition of NeXT by Apple as an example of when a purchase fixed a problem like the one Microsoft had recently with Vista, Apple really isn’t an OS company, and Microsoft’s problem is vastly broader than just its OS,” Enderle writes.

MacDailyNews Take: Uh oh, Rob’s clearly off his meds again. Microsoft’s “problem” with Vista is happening now, so “had” should be “has” in Rob’s last sentence. Enderle states, “Apple really isn’t an OS company.” What’s that supposed to mean? Apple right now offers what is simply the world’s best operating system; a feat they’ve accomplished at least three times before with totally different, unique OSes, by the way. Is Rob about to tell his readers that Microsoft wrote the first Mac OS again?

Enderle continues, “Microsoft has lost the support of many of its critical employees, partners and customers, and even the U.S. government shows little interest in protecting the company from foreign threats. Microsoft has a major image problem and an apparent inability to either recognize or deal with it. In addition, Microsoft appears to have a leadership problem, one it likely shares with companies like GE, GM, and Ford these days, where the executives are isolated, regularly tricked into making bad decisions, and aren’t taken very seriously. Broad image problems are the responsibility of marketing and public relations executives. While Apple’s public relations is mixed, its marketing is second to none and, having made the mistake of comparing potential customers to lemmings years ago, the company would probably immediately see that referring to its own customers as dinosaurs for not buying their latest offering, wasn’t particularly wise.”

“According to the Microsoft blogs, the one place inside Microsoft that doesn’t have many problems is the Mac Business Unit, which is arguably more closely connected with Apple than Microsoft these days. This would indicate a strong foundation for the belief that Apple could help Microsoft — but could Microsoft help Apple? Why Apple Needs Microsoft: The obvious word here is ‘Office,’ but recall that Microsoft provided Apple with critical funding (US$150 million) when it was about to go under so that the firm could come out with new hardware and finish its new operating system. In addition, Microsoft, in continuing to support Apple with Microsoft Office, allows Apple to sell in a lot of places it otherwise would be locked out of,” Enderle writes.

MacDailyNews Take: Microsoft’s $150 million was a dog and pony show for the media, not “critical funding.” Even in the dark days of 1997, Apple had $4.233 billion in total assets at the time Microsoft purchased those long-ago-sold $150 million in non-voting Apple shares. The real deals there were Microsoft’s promise to support Office for the Mac for 5 years (a promise that they’ve recently restated) and the payment to Apple by Microsoft of an “undisclosed” amount to settle the “look and feel” legal issues.

Enderle continues, “Imagine what would result if a new Apple OS was based on the new Windows kernel rather than on Unix.”

MacDailyNews Take: LOL! Yeah, just imagine. Imagine also, if you will, that Ben & Jerry’s replaced sugar and cream with sand and crude oil. Yum, yum! Imagine how quickly we’d switch to Linux if this particular bit of Enderlunacy came true.

Enderle continues, “Apple’s machines are long on usability but short on interoperability, which is almost the mirror opposite of Microsoft products like Media Center. In fact, Microsoft could help dramatically in getting Apple platform products to work seamlessly in Windows environments and make a Media Center product jointly developed vastly more attractive and profitable.”

MacDailyNews Take: Ooh, goody! Microsoft can help Apple make products that are long on interoperability and short on usability. Our proposed marketing slogan: “They don’t work very well, but they sure can interoperate!” We can see the midnight lines forming already.

Enderle continues, “Now, an Apple-Microsoft merger may not necessarily be a good idea because it may go too far. Much of what makes both companies interesting is what is unique to each firm. I honestly don’t see a chance that the U.S. government would allow such a merger to take place anyway. But how about a broad partnership? If Apple’s next generation OS — Leopard — was ready now the company could take some market share from Microsoft in the 4th quarter, but Apple probably wouldn’t be able to hold onto it. All reports say Leopard won’t be ready until 2007, after Vista ships, anyway.”

MacDailyNews Take: In all of the reports that we’ve read and covered, Apple is slated to release Leopard, the next release of OS X, either late 2006 or early 2007. Vista’s most-recent slip has it being released in January 2007. Based upon past performance, no one should have any confidence that Microsoft will hit that date. Besides, if properly introduced to the world, Apple’s Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar — which debuted years ago — could take share from Microsoft’s Windows, as could Mac OS X 10.3 Panther and 10.4 Tiger. Apple doesn’t need a “next-gen” Leopard when even their old Jaguar would stun 90-percent of the PC-using world with its UI and features. Sigh. If only Apple did a better job of showing the world the Mac and the benefits it offers…

Enderle continues, “What if Apple worked with Microsoft to make the iPod ‘Plays for Sure’-compliant, and Microsoft worked with Apple to make the Mac OS a true peer platform to Windows?”

MacDailyNews Take: Yeah, what if Apple made the iPod compliant with all of the online music services that nobody uses? One can only imagine the wide-ranging non-effects. What if the Mac OS became a “true peer platform” to Windows, whatever that means? Since it’s an Enderle suggestion, we’ll assume that whatever he thinks it means is pure stupidity.

Enderle continues, “Employees might also move more freely between the firms, providing a formal system of cross-pollenation in skills and practices that both could use.”

MacDailyNews Take: Yeah, Microsofties could go down to Cupertino whenever they wanted company-provided towels or stock options that don’t chart like a parking lot. Apple employees could head on up to Redmond whenever they want a dose of stifling bureaucracy or a tutorial on how to create tangled, bloated code coupled with unintelligible, ugly user interfaces. A perfect world indeed; like an Elvis existence: too high, take a downer; too down, take an upper. We can see the human resources videos already: “Apple employees, are you too happy, too optimistic? Do you think different and see a world where anything is possible? You need a dose of reality: transfer to Microsoft today!” “Microsoft employees, are you suicidal, trapped in your cubical, stifled under layers of retarded bureaucracy? Do you like the comfort of group think and are perfectly content with “good enough” results? It’s time for a trip to Cupertino!”

Enderle continues, “This is all an ideal-case scenario, and things seldom work that way. Apple historically has not been a good partner and the distrust that surrounds Microsoft is near legendary. Still, stranger things have happened. While neither company is in critical shape at the moment it does appear that both firms need each other right now — with an urgency that is unprecedented.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: iMacs in earthquakes and Paris Hilton in an Apple Store! Whenever you think Enderle can’t go any deeper off the end, he does it.

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Related articles:
Enderle: Microsoft employees voice concerns about working for dysfunctional company – March 29, 2006
Big surprise: Enderle was wrong about Apple’s holiday quarter Mac sales – January 19, 2006
Enderle: Microsoft’s ‘PlaysForSure’ going to be a long-term problem for Apple – January 09, 2006
Enderle: Apple+Intel could be wonderful for those of us that love design and use Windows – December 26, 2005
Tech pundit Enderle: ‘Microsoft wrote the first Mac OS’ – September 28, 2005
Enderle: ‘iPod Halo Effect is just a myth, same thing as having Paris Hilton visit Apple stores’ – May 02, 2005
Tech Pundit Enderle: ‘This year will be more difficult for Apple Computer’ and iMacs in earthquakes – January 24, 2005
Enderle: maybe it’s time for Apple and Sun to merge – August 10, 2004

80 Comments

  1. You over-rate Jaguar. Panther however was the shiznit.

    And all of your takes are off base, look at Rob’s fantasy not as a danger to Apple, but rather as FUD directed at Microsoft: “The only way your POS company can have a future is by buying Apple.”

  2. Little off the topic

    I was in the Apple store yesterday and let me tell ya it was booming in there. There were so many people in there it was crazy. Steve is doing very well with his stores from what I can see.

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