Why Apple should partner with Microsoft

“During a presentation at Dreamforce last week, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella reportedly demonstrated the Outlook mobile app on the iPhone first before switching to a Windows phone. This is surprising, given that Apple and Microsoft were bitter rivals at one time,” S. Kumar writes for Fortune. “And earlier this month, Apple surprised everyone when it invited a Microsoft representative to present at the event unveiling its new iPhone and other products.”

“Not that we should read too much into both events, but the instances remind me how much both companies could benefit by forming a partnership,” Kumar writes. “The growth in tablets (like the iPad) is being driven by business adoption, according to research from Forrester cited by AppleInsider. In addition, Forrester also sees Apple as being strongly positioned to reap the benefits of this growth, especially through its partnership with IBM. An alliance with Microsoft will only help this process and strengthen Apple’s position in the important enterprise market.”

“While Microsoft’s Surface business is healthy, the iPad Pro seems to have far brighter prospects, according to analysts. That means cooperation with Apple is not only desirable for Microsoft, but necessary, in its own bid to reach the widest possible audience for Office. Apple’s products exist in a highly inter-connected and sticky ecosystem; you’re either part of it or not,” Kumar writes. “Another reason that Microsoft needs Apple is because the company is morphing from being a software provider to a cloud-based services company, especially over mobile devices. With Apple iOS’ market share in the mobile arena nearly 7 times that of Microsoft, the latter needs Apple’s users to maximize its reach.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Kumar gives a lot of reasons why partnering with Apple would help Microsoft, but no good reason why such a tie up would benefit Apple. Apple’s dominance has already forced Microsoft to capitulate and make Office for iOS devices lest they lose the office suite market, too. Partnerships should be mutually beneficial. This one wouldn’t be; it would only benefit beleaguered Microsoft, a company pushed from complacency into existential crisis by Apple Inc. This is like saying Jony Ive should partner with Samsung on smartphone design. It’s nonsense.

Tim Bajarin: Apple’s iOS will become the Millennials’ OS – September 21, 2015
Apple’s groundbreaking iPad Pro has nothing to do with Microsoft’s moribund Surface tablet – September 11, 2015
Why artists will flock to iPad Pro and the amazing Apple Pencil – September 11, 2015
Hands-on Apple’s new iPad Pro with Apple Pencil – September 11, 2015
Hands-on with the Apple Pencil for iPad Pro – September 10, 2015
Professional artists cheer the new iPad Pro and Apple Pencil – September 10, 2015
Apple iPads had physical keyboards three and a half years before Microsoft’s Surface tablet debut – September 10, 2015
Wired: Hands-on with Apple’s great, big iPad Pro and Apple Pencil – September 9, 2015
Apple introduces 12.9-inch iPad Pro, Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard – September 9, 2015
Cool new iPad case with integrated Bluetooth keyboard further threatens netbooks – August 25, 2010
ClamCase announces all-in-one keyboard, case and stand for Apple iPad (with video) – May 6, 2010


  1. It would help Apple in that they could sell more hardware in the business world. This would be great for Apple and awful for Microsoft because people could do real comparisons of software against Microsoft.

    1. Apple has partnered with IBM. I think this is to see if they can break into the Microsoft stranglehold on big business. If it works, there is no reason to partner with Microsoft. If if doesn’t work, then it will be needed.

      1. Absolutely right. People forget how Microsoft road on Apple’s success with their software (Word in particular) in the first place back in the 80s and then when they didn’t need them made Apple software second class citizens to the PC World and indeed had to be bribed even to continue Office in the end. This would be simply an attempt to remain relevant while they try to re create their cloud services as a type of second coming to reflect , even re construct their old PC hegemony and by so doing at least try to hold on to their business power base and then a planned spread back out from there.

        With Windows now a ‘single entity’ running all their products with a similar look and feel, they then believe that they can re-capture other markets gradually over the years through familiarity. To strengthen their business position by working closely with them could only help them complete the core process in this long term plan, (indeed its their only hope) so there should be as little formal cooperation as is possible in my opinion. Not keen on reviving zombie stories myself.

    2. This would assume some people still want Microsoft to still exist. And if they don’t exist then wouldn’t Apple benefit and have ALL business?

      Just saying….I remember when Bill and everyone at MS wanted Apple to just die.


    1. After dumping a couple billion into development and marketing, Microsoft announced $908 million in sales of the Surface in the 3rd quarter of 2014; Computerworld estimate that translates into a quarterly profit of $122 million.

      I don’t think $122 million in earnings per quarter (and growing) is something that Apple can afford to poo-poo. After its initial surge in popularity, the reality is that iPad profits plummeted in competition with the more powerful Surface and the cheaper Amazon and junk Android tablets (although some analysts categorize the Surface as a notebook and not a tablet).

      Now Apple is plain copying certain features from MS hardware and software — such as split screen snap and the new expensive Pencil. Like it or not, the competition is here and it’s taking Apple sales. I’d be more circumspect and stow the usual MDN hubris, as it just makes Apple fanboys look like jerks.

      I’ll take a new 17 inch MBP, thank you very much.

    1. Microsoft’s $150 million investment in non-voting shares did not “rescue” Apple Computer, Inc. per se.

      The value was in the settlement of patent disputes for an undisclosed figure, a patent cross-licensing agreement, the promise of continued Office and other software for Mac development for a five-year period, and, most of all, the P.R. the deal generated.

      As was usually the case, Jobs got the bang for the buck, and then some, for which he was looking.MacDailyNews, January 23, 2012

        1. Apple was suing Msft for infringing Mac for Windows among other things, don’t like MDN here :

          from ZDnet:

          “•Microsoft’s $150 stock investment was the result of a settlement of a lawsuit. In fact, the investment was just an initial payment for other “substantial balancing payments” that would be spread out over then next few years, then Apple CFO Fred Anderson said at the time.

          The exact amount of the settlement is still unknown as far as I am aware. I’ve seen estimates from $500 million to more than $1 billion.”

    2. Microsoft didn’t rescue Apple, they bought $150,000,000.00 in non negotiable stock just to show support. Apple was bleeding billions at the time, so 150 million was nothing to Apple.

  2. Helping Microsoft might satisfy anti trust complaints. Where Microsoft is truly not a competitor to Apple, and the likes of Google and Samsung would like to think they are competitive with Apple, it would be a good asset to have Microsoft on Apple’s side.

    D.Cot, we aren’t hurting competition. Microsoft not only has MS Office on the iPad, they got to demo it first!

  3. Agreed that a partnership needs to benefit both partners. Such a partnership could be created, and it would benefit ALL of us: if Apple standardized around Office, and Microsoft exited the hardware business, adapted its software offerings to MacOS and iOS, and dropped Windows. I can only see that partnership as making everyone’s life better!

      1. In some areas, Apple is not as good as other vendors.

        Like it or not, Microsoft Office is the standard for an office automation suite. Apple does not have a database such as SQL Server. SharePoint is used by business.

        Microsoft isn’t the only company better in some areas: Kindle is the standard for ebooks, not necessarily because it is superior to iBooks, but Amazon had several years’ head start and the Justice Department hamstrung Apple.

        Let’s face it: the best product doesn’t always win. Windows won (and is still winning) the now shrinking desktop market. VHS video tapes beat Betamax. Android is being used by more people than iOS, so any partnership (which is NOT a merger) to change that is a positive.

    1. Very true. IBM is partnering with Apple exclusively, because it too sees Microsoft creeping back into competing with its Business profit areas just as it saw (or didn’t see) it do in the original OS Wars. The last thing Apple needs is to see Microsoft take back the business mobile sector or we will very possibly in ten years time see a replay of the desktop scenario. The iPad Pro is there for a reason and indeed more needs to be done generally in tablets which sadly Apple allowed to drift along for a few years as MS took an age to to produce any sort of usable product. Don’t like that sort of complacency but this past year Apple has at least seen the warning signs.

  4. On a smaller scale, I do think Apple could license Siri to Microsoft in a cashless exchange. The more data that Siri has access to, the better the AI etc. This would offset the advantage Google has with its data.

  5. On a technical level Apple has been working with Microsoft for years. Their licensing and incorporation of ActiveSync protocols into iOS is one example. They should continue to work together where it makes sense. But I see no need nor benefit to either company of a formal partnership. They are still both competitors.

  6. Believe it or not, Microsoft is very strong with tablets in the enterprise works thanks to the tons of dinosaurs still in place in IT departments.
    All outsourcing companies with Microsoft partnership will recommend solutions based on Microsoft products and not recommend the best solution.
    Be careful when you hire a company claiming “Microsoft solution provider” or certification or something like that.

  7. We might get a proper mail program, and Apple might stop secretly deleting mail. Home users might not care or notice when Apple deletes their mail or sporadically assigns mail as junk but ask a lawyer what they think of Apple deleting their inbound mail, on a whim, and in secret and you will understand why Apple is still not ready for the big time…

  8. Microsoft: we are announcing the Surface 3.

    World: but what will happen to them? Nobody asked for Surface, and no one will buy them. Isn’t that wasteful?

    Microsoft: sales don’t matter. Having a product is all that matters.

    Punchline: and that’s what it’s like to be be pro-life.

  9. While I’m not known to be the most friendly towards Microsoft, the fact is, the company is changing with Nadella. it’s not the Microsoft we used to know. It can’t be the Microsoft we used to know, or they would be dead.

    While Ballmer the clown was calling Linux “a cancer”, Nadella is embracing it and using it for their own datacenters (in a way, they are recognizing Linux is better than their own stuff for big computing). Before, they would have dropped dead before even mentioning that.

    They hire today a lot of people from the open source community. They are not as arrogant as they used to be. They are learning to play nice with others (for the first time in many years), and that’s Nadella’s work in Microsoft.

    I personally used Android, Windows Phone and the iPhone. The iPhone is the best. No one discuss it. But as OS comes, Windows Phone is way better than Android. I liked it a lot. To me, it’s proof that you can do something different without photocopying (Microsoft paid Apple for using their patents).

    So, the game has changed. We can’t blame the people at Microsoft today for the sins of the fathers. I’m willing to see how Microsoft develops under Nadella.

    As much as I disliked Microsoft, I’d rather see a healthy, positive Microsoft, working well with others, than a dead Microsoft.

    Google is to me the new Microsoft.

  10. it is in their DNA to act and be like a scorpion. All you can do to be safe is remove the stinger and its ability to reproduce.
    Win10 is a gift to the NSA. They have since “reprogrammed” Win 8 and Win 7 to do likewise. MS Office has always had an NSA flag in it and that code has never been removed.

  11. I think they did do a little partnership as we all saw Microsoft demo the latest Office on the iPad Pro did we not. There partnership with IBM is also getting in the corporate world. Many companies are offering Macs, iPads, iPhones as options for there employees to use. Some of the corporate execs demand Apple products to use in there business.

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