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apple vs microsoft case study

Today in 1988: Apple sues Microsoft for copyright infringement

March 17, 2019 · 5 minute read

If you were paying attention to the computing world in any measure during the 1990s, you knew about the raging Mac versus PC debate.  In fact, it was one of the defining elements of 1990s computing.

Although that dispute is now largely a thing of the past, there was definitely some true animosity between Apple and Microsoft, particularly because of the events leading up to Apple suing Microsoft for copyright infringement on March 17, 1988.

The lawsuit was filed only a few months after Microsoft released Windows 2.0, which was a marked improvement over the first version. According to the higher-ups at Apple, this was because Microsoft copied Macintosh’s visual displays — and did so without a license.

Let me back up for a minute and explain: We all take for granted the graphical user interface (GUI) of today’s computers, but, as  this  New York Times  article  about the lawsuit demonstrates with its description about GUI, it was a novel idea at the time, the application to consumer products of which was largely attributable to Apple:

That appearance is based on what the industry calls a graphical user interface, in which information appears in windows and operations are carried out by pointing at objects and menus using a handheld device called a mouse – a major selling point of the Macintosh.

(I hope that you were as amused by reading that as I was.)

Anyway, Microsoft and it’s leader Bill Gates were the first outside developer to get a Macintosh prototype before its release in 1984. The company was to create productivity software (word processing, spreadsheets, etc.) for the Mac.

Gates instantly fell in love with the Mac OS, and after the public unveiling of the Macintosh, Gates essentially begged Apple to license the software to outside manufacturers so that the Macintosh would become the standard in personal computing.

Although there has been much speculation to Gates’s motivations in doing this, Gates himself later stated that Microsoft’s software profit margins were much higher on MacOS than for those on IBM’s licensed MSDOS platform.

For a number of reasons, Gates’s proposal was rejected by Jean-Louis Gassée, who had been given control of the Macintosh and Lisa projects after Steve Jobs was ousted from them.

Later, in November of 1985, Microsoft released Windows 1.0, which alarmed a number of individuals at Apple because they believed that Microsoft had stolen several design elements of the Mac operating system. Apple threatened to sue.

Because of the close relationship between the two companies, however (Microsoft’s productivity software was a heavy driver of sales for the Macintosh), they eventually came to an agreement, wherein Apple licensed Macintosh design elements to Microsoft to be used in Windows.

For whatever reason, though, Apple’s legal team didn’t catch the fact that the agreement was written to license the use of Apple features in Windows 1.0  and all future Microsoft software programs .

You can imagine Apple’s surprise, then, when Windows 2.0 was released and contained even more design elements copied straight from the Macintosh operating system.

Apple was apparently so upset by this that it skipped threatening letters and phone calls and went straight to filing a lawsuit (a lawsuit which is today celebrating its 31 st  anniversary).

Unfortunately for Apple, on July 25, 1989,  Judge William Schwarzer ruled  that 179 of the 189 contested visual displays that Apple claimed infringed in its copyrights were covered by the existing license, and the rest weren’t eligible for copyright anyhow because of the merger doctrine (which holds that ideas cannot be copyrighted).

After a number of appeals, the legal battled ended on February 21, 1995,  when the Supreme Court denied  Apple’s petition for writ of certiorari.

In light of Apple’s contemporary dominance in the computing and electronics markets, it may be difficult to appreciate the impact of this loss on Apple’s position in the industry. It was during the mid- to late 90’s that Windows rose to prominence, and Apple’s Macintosh was unable to keep up, such that by 1996, it looked to be in very real danger of failure.

Of course, that all turned around after Steve Jobs was brought back in to Apple as an advisor, bringing the company back onto the path of growth — one on which it continues today.

But prior to this turnaround, the lawsuit and its eventual failure were symbolic of Apple’s fortunes throughout most of the 1990s, and although history will be unlikely to remember it for any legal significance, it certainly is a major milestone in the history of computing and technological advancements.

Even the biggest and most influential companies can face serious setbacks. Make sure your firm is always on the cutting edge by staying embracing the latest technology and following legal changes and updates.

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Apple Computer Inc. v. Microsoft Corp., 759 F. Supp. 1444 (N.D. Cal. 1991)

759 F. Supp. 1444 (1991)

APPLE COMPUTER, INC., a California corporation, Plaintiff, v. MICROSOFT CORPORATION, a Delaware corporation, and Hewlett Packard Company, a California corporation, Defendants.

No. C-88-20149-VRW.

United States District Court, N.D. California.

March 6, 1991.

*1445 *1446 Chris R. Ottenweller, Brown & Bain, Palo Alto, Cal., Jack E. Brown, Brown & Bain, Phoenix, Ariz., for plaintiff Apple Computer, Inc.

David T. McDonald, Karl J. Quackenbush, McDonald & Quackenbush, William O. Ferron, Jr., Seed & Berry, Seattle, Wash., John N. Hauser, Lynn H. Pasahow, McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen, San Francisco, Cal., David H. Binney, Robert W. Gomulkiewicz, Preston, Thorgrimson, Shidler, Gates & Ellis, Seattle, Wash., for defendant Microsoft Corp.

Jon Stark, Pennie & Edmonds, New York City, Neil Boorstyn, McCutchen, Doyle, *1447 Brown & Enersen, San Francisco, Cal., for defendant Hewlett-Packard Co.

WALKER, District Judge.

Apple Computer, Inc. ("Apple") filed this copyright infringement action on March 17, 1988, against Microsoft Corporation ("Microsoft") and Hewlett-Packard Company ("HP"), claiming that Microsoft's Windows computer operating system software and HP's NewWave computer application software infringed Apple's copyrights. The copyrights at issue protect the visual displays of Apple's Macintosh computer user interface.

In developing the Macintosh computer operating system software, Apple made one of the major commercial breakthroughs of the 1980's. The graphic user interface generated by the Macintosh system software consists of windows, icons, pull-down menus, and other images or visual displays projected on the computer screen. The Macintosh user interface [1] proved so intuitive that users were able fairly quickly to learn how to manipulate the screen displays and mouse and thus accomplish what had theretofore been the daunting task of learning to operate a computer. This breakthrough vaulted Apple to the top of the personal computer industry.

The visual displays in a computer user interface owe their appearance to system software and application programs. System software is a computer program that controls the computer hardware and schedules the execution of its functions. Such software is keyed to the computer hardware which it runs and establishes the visual framework or environment for the images on the computer screen, as does a proscenium in a theatre. In order to put a computer to a specific task, however, the user also needs an application program to further the stage analogy, the play. Application programs must be keyed to a particular system software and work within that system's framework or environment to carry out a specific application or task, e.g., word processing, accounting, and charting.

The obvious difference between a stage play and a computer interface is that in the latter, the user directs the action. The "user friendliness" of the Macintosh interface gave Apple a competitive edge over other personal computer manufacturers.

The commercial success of the Macintosh user interface and competition produced by Microsoft's analogous Windows Version 1.0 system software for IBM and IBM-compatible personal computers spawned a dispute between Apple and Microsoft over the rightful ownership of visual displays in this interface. The parties' dispute extended to ownership of visual displays in Microsoft Windows Version 1.0, and certain application programs: Microsoft Multiplan and Microsoft Excel, both spread-sheet programs; Microsoft Chart, a graphics program; Microsoft File, a database program; and Microsoft Word, a word processing program. [2] On November 22, 1985, Apple and Microsoft entered into an agreement ("1985 Agreement") to settle this dispute. The effect of that agreement upon the parties' rights was the first matter which the Honorable William W Schwarzer, to whom this case was previously assigned, sought to determine.

The 1985 Agreement provided that: (1) Microsoft acknowledged that the visual displays in the Microsoft Windows Version 1.0 operating system and the disputed application programs were derivative works of the visual displays generated by Apple's Macintosh operating system and that of an earlier Apple effort, the Lisa; (2) Apple granted to Microsoft a non-exclusive, royalty-free, nontransferable license to use these derivative visual displays in present and future software programs and to license them to *1448 third parties for use in new software programs; (3) Microsoft agreed not to offer a new application program similar in function to Microsoft Excel prior to October 1, 1986; (4) Apple waived any copyright, patent, trade secret or other claim it may have as to Windows Version 1.0; (5) Microsoft granted to Apple a non-exclusive, royalty-free, nontransferable license to use any new visual displays created by Microsoft during the next five years as part of the Microsoft Windows retail software products; and (6) Microsoft agreed to revise Microsoft Word, which operates on the Macintosh operating system, by enhancing and improving that program by July 31, 1986.

Relying on this agreement, Microsoft apparently granted HP a license to use the Microsoft Windows system software in the development of what came to be known as HP's NewWave application program. Sewell Declaration with Appendix in Support of Apple's Summary Judgment Motion, Exh. 39. After learning of the HP NewWave application program and evidently fearing that Microsoft's licensing activities would soon diminish the Macintosh competitive advantage, Apple filed this lawsuit.

Apple's complaint alleged three claims: (1) copyright infringement of Apple's audio-visual works by HP's NewWave and Microsoft's Windows Version 2.03; (2) contributory infringement against Microsoft for licensing Apple's visual displays to HP; and (3) unfair competition. Microsoft and HP asserted a variety of affirmative defenses, including two addressed in this order: Apple's allegedly fraudulent procurement of its copyrights and the asserted lack of originality of the Macintosh graphic user interface.

By orders dated March 20 and July 25, 1989, [3] Judge Schwarzer summarily adjudicated that: (1) the 1985 Agreement was not a complete defense to Apple's claim of copyright infringement; (2) the 1985 Agreement granted Microsoft a license to use in current and future software products the visual displays in Windows Version 1.0 and the five named Microsoft application programs; and (3) the visual displays in Windows 2.03 are in Windows 1.0 and the named application programs except for those relating to the use of overlapping main application windows and to certain changes in the appearance and manipulation of icons. Judge Schwarzer granted Microsoft partial summary judgment on Apple's infringement claim to the extent that Windows 2.03 and NewWave used visual displays that had appeared in Windows Version 1.0 and the five application programs named in the 1985 Agreement. 717 F. Supp. at 1435. Such visual displays were protected from Apple's infringement claims by virtue of the 1985 Agreement's licensing provisions. In reaching this conclusion, Judge Schwarzer rejected Apple's contention that the 1985 Agreement forbade Microsoft from developing in later system software an overall visual appearance more similar to that of the Macintosh than Windows Version 1.0. 717 F. Supp. at 1431. Judge Schwarzer determined that the 1985 Agreement licensed only those visual displays in Windows Version 1.0 and the five application programs named therein. 717 F. Supp. at 1435.

Judge Schwarzer's approach entailed analysis of the works' discrete "visual displays." [4] Pursuant to Judge Schwarzer's direction, Apple identified 189 Macintosh visual displays which it claimed appear in Windows Version 2.03 and NewWave. [5] Judge Schwarzer reorganized these visual displays into six categories and decided that with respect to Windows Version 2.03, all visual displays except the use of overlapping application windows and certain changes in the appearance and manipulation of icons were protected from Apple's infringement claims by virtue of the 1985 *1449 Agreement. [6] 717 F. Supp. at 1433-35.

By an order to which the parties stipulated during Judge Schwarzer's supervision of the litigation, this court limited the current phase of litigation to issues regarding the validity and scope of Apple's copyrights in the works in suit and whether any of the ten remaining visual displays are licensed under the 1985 Agreement between Apple and Microsoft.

Presently before the court are: (1) Microsoft's motion for partial summary judgment, seeking a determination that seven of the ten remaining visual displays from Apple's List are licensed by the 1985 Agreement, and that none of the remaining ten features is protectible expression within the scope of any of Apple's copyrights; (2) HP's motion seeking partial summary adjudication that: (a) each of the 50 remaining items [7] on Apple's list of similarities applicable to NewWave is not original; (b) each of the remaining items does not constitute protectible expression under copyright law; or (c) the scope of protection for such items is so narrow that only virtually identical copying can constitute infringement; and (d) 11 of the remaining 50 items are licensed visual displays under the 1985 Agreement and are protected against Apple's claim of copyright infringement; and (3) Apple's motion for partial summary adjudication that Apple's audiovisual copyrights are valid and the Microsoft and HP affirmative defenses should be dismissed.

Implicit in Judge Schwarzer's approach to the case is a rejection of Apple's fundamental contention that the "total concept and feel" of the Macintosh graphic user interface is protectible expression. Rather, Judge Schwarzer's approach appears to have been to exclude licensed visual displays prior to applying the substantial similarity of idea and expression tests. The undersigned has considered a different approach to the litigation from that adopted by Judge Schwarzer, one that would not begin by an attempt to parse the visual displays of the Macintosh system software. However appealing such an approach might seem in the abstract, the 1985 Agreement appears to license individual visual displays rather than an overall "total concept and feel." [8] After lengthy consideration, the undersigned has concluded that Judge Schwarzer correctly began his analysis of the issues in the litigation with the 1985 Agreement. The court thus turns to the motions directed to the remaining issues involving the 1985 Agreement.

In his July 25, 1989 order, [9] Judge Schwarzer found that particular changes in the appearance and use of icons, namely, the storage of icons anywhere on the screen rather than just at the bottom of the screen, the display of the icon's name below the icon, and changes in visual displays necessary to implement the overlapping windows system, were not licensed under the 1985 Agreement. 717 F. Supp. at 1433-1435. The remaining visual displays are:

A1 overlapping windows in front of a muted background;
A8 windows appearing partly on and off screen;
B1 top overlapping window displayed as the active window;
B2 window brought to top of stack when mouse clicked;
*1450 D1 gray outline of window dragged along with cursor when mouse pressed on window's title bar;
D2 window dragged to a new position when the mouse is released after dragging the window's outline;
D3 newly exposed areas on screen are redisplayed after the window is moved;
G4 icon may be moved to any part of screen by dragging along with cursor when user presses mouse on icon;
G5 display of icons on screen behind any open windows;
G6 icon's title displayed beneath icon; and

In support of its contention that seven of the ten remaining visual displays (A1, A8, B1, B2, D1, D2, D3) are licensed, Microsoft has submitted a videotape, Exhibit H, which shows that each of the seven visual displays appeared in the 1985 version of Microsoft Excel. Microsoft argues that any visual displays in Windows Version 1.0 and the five application programs developed by Microsoft (Word, Chart, File, Excel, and Multiplan) are licensed under the 1985 Agreement and, hence, are protected from Apple's claims of copyright infringement.

Apple contends that each of the Microsoft application programs developed for the Macintosh computer owes its distinctive Macintosh-like appearance to the Macintosh system software without which the application programs could not run. The visual displays which appear on the screen when an application program is running on a Macintosh computer are generated by the interaction between the Macintosh system software and the application program. Therefore, contends Apple, the only visual displays in the five named application programs which are licensed under the 1985 Agreement are those which are created by the code of the Microsoft application programs, not those generated by application calls to the Macintosh system software. The visual displays which are generated by the Macintosh system software include the window frames, moving animation, and the redisplay of those portions of the screen exposed by a window which has been moved. The visual displays which are generated by the Microsoft Excel application program are the contents of the windows. Capps Supp. Decl. ¶¶ 3, 4 and Exh. 1.

The issue of which visual displays are generated by the Microsoft application programs and which by the Macintosh system software was raised earlier before Judge Schwarzer, in a slightly different context. In his March 20, 1989 Order, Judge Schwarzer declined to consider whether the visual displays in issue were generated by the Microsoft application programs or by the Macintosh system software. The point arose in connection with Microsoft's argument that the 1985 Agreement licensed to Microsoft all visual displays that could possibly be called up by running the five Microsoft application programs on the Macintosh system software then or in the future. 709 F. Supp. at 929. Judge Schwarzer concluded that Microsoft's contention would "defy common sense." Id.

Microsoft refers to the depositions of Albert Eisenstat, Apple's Senior Vice President, and John Sculley, Apple's President and CEO, in which these negotiators of the 1985 Agreement did not remember discussing the distinction between visual displays generated by the Microsoft application software code and those generated by the Macintosh system software code. Appendix to Microsoft's Reply to Apple's Response to Microsoft's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. Furthermore, Microsoft contends that it would have been extremely difficult for the negotiators of the 1985 Agreement to determine which visual displays were attributable to which program codes because such information would require a detailed analysis of the images created by each software program.

Apple contends that: (1) the controversy which resulted in the 1985 license related entirely to Microsoft Windows Version 1.0; (2) Apple did not present any complaint formally or informally regarding any of the Microsoft application programs; and (3) Microsoft's Chairman Gates repeatedly explained that he sought confirmation of Microsoft's ownership of the visual displays *1451 in only those application programs that Microsoft created and owned. Apple's Response to Defendants' Motions for Partial Summary Judgment at 10.

Under California law, ambiguities in a written agreement are to be interpreted against the drafter, in this case, Microsoft. See S.O.S., Inc. v. Payday, Inc., 886 F.2d 1081, 1088 (9th Cir. 1989) (citing Heston v. Farmers Ins. Group,   160 Cal. App. 3d 402 , 415, 206 Cal. Rptr. 585 (1984)); Interpetrol Bermuda Ltd. v. Kaiser Aluminum Int'l Corp., 719 F.2d 992, 998 (9th Cir.1983).

Moreover, the Ninth Circuit has directed district courts to interpret copyright licenses narrowly, consistent with the federal copyright policy of providing incentives in the form of copyright protection to authors. See S.O.S. Payday, 886 F.2d at 1088 ("copyright licenses are assumed to prohibit any use not authorized"); Cohen v. Paramount Pictures Corp., 845 F.2d 851, 854 (9th Cir.1988). In S.O.S. v. Payday , the court concluded that a software developer's grant of a "right of use" of several software programs to a company which provided financial services to clients did not confer the right to copy and prepare a modified version of the software programs without the licensor's permission. The court concluded that the licensee had only acquired the right to possess copies of the software programs for purposes of producing a product for its clients, and, therefore, had exceeded the scope of its license. Similarly, the Cohen court construed a license of a copyrighted work narrowly. Cohen involved a license to record and copy a motion picture and exhibit it "by means of television," which was construed not to include the distribution of videocassettes for home viewing, VCRs for home use not having been invented at the time the license was executed.

In light of these rules of construction and the 1985 Agreement's purpose to resolve the dispute over ownership of visual displays in Windows Version 1.0, the court concludes that the 1985 Agreement did not license the visual displays which are generated by calls from the Microsoft application programs to the Macintosh operating system. The mere fact that the Macintosh system software was designed so that the Macintosh interface could be used in conjunction with a variety of application programs written for the Macintosh computer, [10] should not open the door to a construction at odds with usual principles of contract law and the agreement's evident purpose. It would be astonishing if Apple had licensed those visual displays which had won for it great acclaim for aesthetic and intuitive appeal.

What Microsoft received in the 1985 Agreement was the right to continue to market its application programs written for the Macintosh and to use the visual displays generated by those application programs (not the visual displays generated by calls by the application programs to the Macintosh operating system) in present and future programs.

Although seven of the ten remaining visual displays from Apple's List (A1, A8, B1, B2, D1, D2, and D3) do appear on the screen when the Microsoft Excel application program runs in conjunction with the Macintosh operating system, each of those seven visual displays owes its appearance to the Macintosh operating system. Capps Supp. Declaration. Therefore, those seven visual displays are not licensed under the 1985 Agreement. Microsoft's motion for summary adjudication that these displays are covered by virtue of being in the 1985 version of Microsoft Excel is, therefore, denied.

As to the scope of the 1985 Agreement, HP contends that eleven of the fifty visual displays in Apple's List are covered by the 1985 Agreement and, therefore, are protected from Apple's claims of copyright infringement. These visual displays are: I3, I5, I10, I11, I12, F18, F19, G10, G19, G20, and G22.

*1452 A determination of the legal significance of undisputed historical facts, such as the visual displays in Windows Version 1.0 and NewWave, involves a mixed question of fact and law normally decided by the court and, therefore, appropriate for summary judgment. See Cohen, 845 F.2d at 853, 855 (reversal of summary judgment in favor of licensee).

As a preliminary matter, HP's motion for summary adjudication rests on the assumptions that the 1985 Agreement granted Microsoft the right to use and license to third parties visual displays in Windows Version 1.0 and that HP is entitled to use those visual displays by virtue of a license from Microsoft to HP. The first assumption is plainly justified by Section 2A of the 1985 Agreement. Strangely, the second assumption is questionable. HP has not established the terms of the Microsoft-HP license. Absent such an agreement, HP has no right to rely on the 1985 Agreement between Microsoft and Apple as a defense to copyright infringement. Because the parties proceeded with two summary judgment motions without clarifying this issue and there are letters referring to a license between Microsoft and HP, [11] the court can only assume that Microsoft did license the use of visual displays in Windows Version 1.0 to HP. The court is confident that the lawyers for these parties will be heard from if this is not the case and shall thus address the merits of HP'S motion.

After reviewing the videotape exhibits submitted on this issue and comparing the appearance of these eleven visual displays in Apple's programs and in Microsoft Windows Version 1.0, the court drew the following conclusions.

Items I3, I5, I12, F18, F19, and G22 on Apple's List are all present in Windows Version 1.0 and hence are covered by the 1985 License.

Item I10 is licensed insofar as Windows Version 1.0 contains a "Select All" item in the Edit pull-down menu which allows the user to select all text in the window and display that text in reverse video. To the extent that the Windows Version 1.0 "Select All" item does not permit selection by reverse video of any icons, the "Select All" item is not licensed.

Item I11, a menu called "View" which presents the user with a number of menu items allowing the user to choose the folder's window display as icons or as a tabular list by name, type, or modification date, is licensed except insofar as Windows Version 1.0's "View" pull-down menu does not offer the user the option to display a folder's contents as icons in the window.

Item G19, selection of an icon by changing both the icon and its name into reverse video, is not licensed because in Windows Version 1.0 only disk drive icons and their names, which are not aligned directly below, can be selected by reverse video. The appearance of selecting only disk drive icons by reverse video in Windows Version 1.0 is significantly different from the selection of the variety of icons in the Macintosh and NewWave programs.

Items G10 and G20 do not appear to be licensed, but the association of different icon images with different types of objects and the use of a mouse to move icons around on a screen appear to be ideas. For purposes of the current motion, the court finds only that items G10 and G20 are not covered by the 1985 Agreement. The idea/expression distinction is properly raised in connection with the issue of substantial similarity, which is not presently before the court.

Therefore, the court concludes that items I3, I5, I12, F18, F19, and G22 on Apple's List are licensed to Microsoft pursuant to the 1985 Agreement and, assuming that Microsoft licensed the use of these visual displays to HP, are protected from Apple's claim of copyright infringement.

The following items on Apple's List are unlicensed and pertain to NewWave: A1, A8, B1, B2, D1-3, G1, G2, G4, G5, G6, G10-33, H1-6, I1, I2, I4, I6-11, J8-11 (55 items total).

Apple's motion seeks summary adjudication declaring Apple's audiovisual copyrights valid and dismissing defendants' affirmative defenses. Following lengthy consideration, the court has concluded that the present record is insufficient to conclude that there are no triable issues of fact as to these matters, with two exceptions: (1) HP's claim of Apple's fraud on the Copyright Office, and (2) the originality of Apple's visual displays.

To prevail on a claim of copyright infringement, a plaintiff must establish both ownership of a valid copyright and copying by the defendant. Data East USA, Inc. v. Epyx, Inc., 862 F.2d 204, 206 (9th Cir.1988); Sid & Marty Krofft Television Prod., Inc. v. McDonald's Corp., 562 F.2d 1157, 1162 (9th Cir.1977); Atari, Inc. v. North American Philips Consumer Elec. Corp., 672 F.2d 607, 614 (7th Cir. 1982); see M. Nimmer, 3 THE LAW OF COPYRIGHT § 13.01 (1990). Because direct evidence of copying is rare, copying may be established by circumstantial evidence of access and substantial similarity of ideas and the expression between the copyrighted work and the alleged infringing work. Data East, 862 F.2d at 206.

Apple seeks partial summary judgment on the first issue the validity of its copyrights on the Lisa and Macintosh programs and also asks the court to strike the defendants' affirmative defenses. [12] In support of its motion, Apple refers to the transcript of the April 14, 1989 Status Conference, at 13-14, in which counsel for Microsoft and HP stipulated to the presumptively valid copyright registration of Apple's works in issue. Apple's complaint listed the allegedly infringed works and the copyright registration numbers. In Microsoft's answer, Microsoft admitted that Apple received the certificates of registration for the works in suit. Microsoft's Answer, ¶ 10.

A certificate of registration from the Copyright Office constitutes "prima facie evidence of the validity of the copyright and of the facts stated in the certificate." 17 U.S.C. § 410(c). [13] This presumption of validity is rebuttable. Durham Indus., Inc. v. Tomy Corp., 630 F.2d 905, 908 (2d Cir.1980) (evidence in the record casting doubt on validity rebuts presumption); Past Pluto Prod. Corp. v. Dana,   627 F. Supp. 1435 (S.D.N.Y.1986). The presumptive validity of a certificate of registration may be resolved on summary judgment. S.O.S. v. Payday, 886 F.2d at 1086 (citing Seiler v. Lucasfilm, Ltd., 808 F.2d 1316, 1322 (9th Cir.1986)). Furthermore, the presumption of copyright validity may not be overcome on the basis of fraud without proof that omissions in copyright application were intentional. Eckes v. *1454 Card Prices Update, 736 F.2d 859 (2d Cir. 1984). HP opposes Apple's motion seeking a determination of validity of Apple's certificates on two grounds: fraud on the Copyright Office and lack of originality. [14]

HP contends that Apple's failure to disclose to the Copyright Office that its works were based upon preexisting works should overcome the presumption of validity of Apple's copyright registrations. HP has provided the court with depositions and computer magazine articles showing that the Apple Lisa/Macintosh graphic user interface was strongly influenced by the Xerox programs, Smalltalk and Star. While it is undisputed that the Lisa and Macintosh designers were influenced by Xerox's Smalltalk program, which used a mouse and overlapping windows, and by Xerox's Star workstation, which extensively used icons, such borrowing of ideas does not deprive Apple's works of their presumption of copyright validity. To require a designer of a computer graphic user interface to acknowledge sources of artistic influence would be similar to expecting Roy Lichtenstein to declare in a copyright registration that a particular work is derivative of a named comic strip. HP's contention that Apple's failure to disclose the borrowed Xerox material is in itself adequate to overcome the presumption of validity is unsupported by any binding precedent. Furthermore, "[a]bsent intent to defraud and prejudice, inaccuracies in copyright registration do not bar actions for infringement." Harris v. Emus Records Corp., 734 F.2d 1329, 1335 (9th Cir.1984). HP has not provided the court with any evidence of Apple's intent to deceive the Copyright Office and nevertheless claims that "a triable issue of fact as to Apple's intent remains, and summary judgment cannot be granted to Apple on the record now before the Court." HP's Opposition to Apple's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment at 15-16.

The parties have recently sent letter briefs to the court regarding the December 11, 1990 decision and order in Ashton-Tate Corp. v. Fox Software, Inc.,   760 F. Supp. 831 (C.D.Cal.1990). HP relied on the legal conclusion that Ashton-Tate's failure to disclose that its programs were derived from a computer software program in the public domain invalidated Ashton-Tate's copyrights on its dBase line of computer software programs. [15] This court finds the two-page Ashton-Tate decision unhelpful to the resolution of the pending motions.

HP's contention that Apple's copyrighted works are derivative works is meritless. A derivative work is one which is substantially copied from a prior work. Litchfield v. Spielberg, 736 F.2d 1352, 1357 (9th Cir.1984), cert. denied 470 U.S. 1052, 105 S. Ct. 1753, 84 L. Ed. 2d 817 (1985). The Ninth Circuit has stated that a work will be deemed a derivative work "only if it would be considered an infringing work if the material which it has derived from a prior work had been taken without the consent of a copyright proprietor of such prior work." Id. at 1357 (quoting from United States v. Taxe, 540 F.2d 961, 965 n. 2 (9th Cir.1976)). All works are derived to a certain degree from pre-existing works. A derivative work within the meaning of the copyright law, however, is one which substantially borrows the expression of ideas from an existing work. M. Nimmer, 1 THE LAW OF COPYRIGHT § 3.01 (1990). HP has provided no evidence demonstrating that Apple's works in suit could be considered to have infringed Xerox's copyrights or that Apple's works substantially borrowed expressions of ideas from Xerox's Smalltalk or Star programs.

The purpose of summary judgment is to pierce the pleadings and assess the proof to determine whether a genuine need for trial exists. Advisory Committee Note to 1963 Amendment of Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). *1455 "[T]here is no issue for trial unless there is sufficient evidence favoring the nonmoving party for a jury to return a verdict for that party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,   477 U.S. 242 , 249, 106 S. Ct. 2505, 2511, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202 (1986). Although inferences are to be drawn in favor of the nonmoving party, where the moving party has carried its burden under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c), the nonmoving party "must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Industrial Co. v. Zenith Radio,   475 U.S. 574 , 586, 106 S. Ct. 1348, 1356, 89 L. Ed. 2d 538 (1986). Having reviewed the exhibits offered in connection with this issue, the court concludes there can be no triable issue that the Apple works in suit substantially borrowed expressions of ideas from Xerox's Smalltalk or Star programs.

Finding no evidentiary basis for HP's claim that Apple intended to commit a fraud on the Copyright Office and finding that the Apple visual displays are not derivative of the Xerox Star or Smalltalk programs, the court concludes that HP has failed to establish that Apple perpetrated a fraud on the Copyright Office.

HP disputes that Apple's copyrighted works were wholly original to Apple because those works are "at best derivative of the works of Xerox and others and more likely merely compilations of preexisting uncopyrightable material." HP's Opposition to Apple's Summary Judgment Motion, at 3.

The attacks of Microsoft and HP on the validity of Apple's copyrights on the basis of lack of originality misconstrue the copyright requirement of originality. The standard of originality required for copyrightability is minimal. See Atari Games Corp. v. Oman, 888 F.2d 878 (D.C.Cir.1989) (minimal degree of creativity required to support a copyright). To fulfill the originality requirement, a work need only be independently created by the author and embody a very modest amount of intellectual labor; novelty or uniqueness is not essential. Baltimore Orioles, Inc. v. Major League Baseball Players Ass'n., 805 F.2d 663, 668 (7th Cir.1986), cert. denied 480 U.S. 941, 107 S. Ct. 1593, 94 L. Ed. 2d 782 (1987); West Pub. Co. v. Mead Data Cent., Inc., 799 F.2d 1219, 1223 (8th Cir.1986), cert. denied 479 U.S. 1070, 107 S. Ct. 962, 93 L. Ed. 2d 1010 (1987). It has been said that the originality requirement is simply a prohibition of actual copying by the copyright holder. Atari Games Corp., 888 F.2d at 882; M. Kramer Mfg. v. Andrews, 783 F.2d 421, 437 (4th Cir.1986).

In Johnson Controls, Inc. v. Phoenix Control Systems, 886 F.2d 1173 (9th Cir.1989), the court concluded that the existence of computer programs similar to plaintiff's program was insufficient to rebut the presumption of validity absent any evidence that plaintiff copied from the other programs. Similarly, although there is evidence that Apple's designers borrowed ideas from Xerox's Smalltalk and Star programs, there is no substantiation for the allegation that Apple copied protectible elements of expression from those programs. Indeed, photocopies of visual displays from the Smalltalk and Star programs within the parties' exhibits reveal scant similarity of expression between Xerox's and Apple's visual displays. HP's Documentary and Testimonial Evidence in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment, Exh. 222, 227, 237, 264, 361.

There being no triable issue of fact regarding fraud on the Copyright Office or lack of originality of Apple's works in suit, Apple's motion for partial summary judgment that: (1) Apple did not perpetrate a fraud on the Copyright Office; and (2) Apple's works in suit fulfill the copyright requirement of originality, is granted. Apple's motion for summary adjudication that its copyrights are valid is denied without prejudice to renewal. Accordingly, HP's affirmative defense regarding fraud on the Copyright Office and both HP and Microsoft's affirmative defenses of lack of originality are dismissed from the case. HP and Microsoft's defenses to infringement, such as functionality, scope of protection, merger and scenes a faire doctrines remain in issue and would be appropriately discussed *1456 in connection with an adjudication regarding substantial similarity.

Microsoft and HP have asked the court for a determination that each of the remaining visual displays on Apple's List is not entitled to copyright protection because they are unprotectible ideas, scenes a faire, or expressions which are merged with or indispensable to the ideas they represent. Under Ninth Circuit precedent, it appears that the issue of merger of idea and expression can preclude a finding of substantial similarity, but has not been applied to the issue of the copyrightability of a work. NEC Corp. v. Intel Corp., 10 U.S.P.Q.2d 1177, 1179 (N.D.Cal.1989); see Data East, 862 F.2d at 208; Frybarger v. Int'l Business Mach. Corp., 812 F.2d 525, 530 (9th Cir.1987); Sid & Marty Krofft, 562 F.2d at 1167-69; Herbert Rosenthal Jewelry Corp. v. Kalpakian, 446 F.2d 738, 742 (9th Cir.1971); see also M. Nimmer, 3 THE LAW OF COPYRIGHT § 13.03[B][3] (1990).

In Aliotti v. R. Dakin & Co., 831 F.2d 898 (9th Cir.1987), the Ninth Circuit incorporated the line of cases involving the merger and scenes a faire doctrines into the "analytical framework of the intrinsic test [the substantial similarity of expression test]." Id. at 901. Accordingly, such copyright doctrines, addressing the protectibility of elements of expression, are appropriately addressed in connection with the second half of the Krofft bifurcated test of substantial similarity of ideas and expressions.

Although the court did invite motions addressing the issue of "scope of protection" of Apple's copyrights and the merger doctrine has been applied in other circuits to preclude copyrightability of a particular work, the court must follow the law of the Ninth Circuit. Since the court did not invite motions regarding the issue of substantial similarity, a resolution whether the works in suit are not substantially similar because of the merger of idea and expression in Apple's visual displays is premature at this time. Unfortunately, a substantial portion of HP and Microsoft's moving papers are irrelevant to the disposition of the current motions.

Counsel are directed to contact the deputy clerk to schedule a status conference not less than 45 days from the date of this order. The court hereby imposes a full disclosure obligation on the parties. In advance of the status conference, therefore, the parties should meet and confer and, with respect to each claim and defense which the party asserts, disclose the following: (1) the location of all documents and other tangible evidence which the party has reason to believe pertain to each claim or defense without regard to the party's access to or control over the location; (2) the identity of each person believed to have knowledge of each claim or defense without regard to whether the person is aligned with the party and a brief narrative statement describing the party's belief as to the person's knowledge; and (3) an outline of the law applicable to each claim or defense. Based upon this exchange, the parties shall prepare a plan of discovery which shall be contained in a single joint status conference statement which must be filed not less than five days in advance of the status conference.


[1] This case deals only with the graphic elements or visual displays of the Macintosh user interface. The whole Macintosh user interface includes both its graphic elements or visual displays and the mouse technology which enables the user to point on these graphic elements and command some computer operation.

[2] Microsoft developed Multiplan, Chart and File under an earlier agreement with Apple.

[3] Apple Computer, Inc. v. Microsoft Corp.,   709 F. Supp. 925 , 717 F. Supp. 1428 (N.D.Cal.1989).

[4] The term "visual displays" comes from the 1985 Agreement. See Appendix to Microsoft's Memorandum in Support of Motion for Partial Summary Judgement, Exh. K.

[5] Apple's document entitled "Similarities between Apple's Copyrighted Audiovisual Works and Microsoft's Windows 2.03 and Hewlett-Packard's NewWave" shall hereinafter be referred to as "Apple's List."

[6] This holding did not affect the visual displays which Apple claimed are found only in NewWave. 717 F. Supp. at 1433 n. 8.

[7] Although HP correctly states that there are fifty visual displays on Apple's List which pertain only to NewWave, there are additional visual displays on Apple's List which refer to both NewWave and Windows 2.03.

[8] An evaluation of whether the "total concept and feel" of the works is substantially similar should occur after unprotectible elements of expression have been identified and excluded from consideration. See Data East USA, Inc. v. Epyx, Inc., 862 F.2d 204, 208 (9th Cir.1988).

[9] Apple Computer, Inc. v. Microsoft Corp.,   717 F. Supp. 1428 (N.D.Cal.1989).

[10] By permitting application programs to call upon the Macintosh system software to generate visual displays, the Apple software developers simplified the task of writing application programs for the Macintosh computer.

[11] Sewell Declaration with Special Appendix, Exh. 39 and 40.

[12] Microsoft's affirmative defenses are: (1) Apple granted Microsoft a royalty-free license to use the visual displays in issue pursuant to the 1985 Agreement; (2) Apple is precluded by waiver or estoppel from any claims of ownership or infringement against Microsoft products; (3) Apple has failed to state a claim for contributory infringement; (4) Apple's visual displays are functional and hence barred from copyright protection under 17 U.S.C. § 102(b); (5) Apple's visual displays are not original to Apple and are not entitled to copyright protection under 17 U.S.C. § 102(a); (6) Apple's visual displays are common and ordinary expressions of unprotectible ideas and are not susceptible to copyright protection under the scenes a faire doctrine of copyright law; (7) no substantial similarity exists between Apple's visual displays and Microsoft's Windows 2.03 software product; and (8) Apple's claim of unfair competition is preempted by 17 U.S.C. § 301.

HP's affirmative defenses are: (1) Apple's visual displays are unprotectible ideas, indispensable expression, and/or non-original expression; (2) fraud on the Copyright Office; (3) Apple's visual displays are functional; and (4) Apple's works are entitled to a limited scope of copyright protection.

[13] Section 410(c) provides:

In any judicial proceedings the certificate of a registration made before or within five years after first publication of the work shall constitute prima facie evidence of the validity of the copyright and of the facts stated in the certificate. The evidentiary weight to be accorded the certificate of a registration made thereafter shall be within the discretion of the court.

[14] Microsoft also contests the originality of Apple's works.

[15] HP's assertion in its letter brief that it has not yet taken any discovery on the subject of Apple's inequitable intent does not preclude summary adjudication of that issue. HP has had ample time to conduct discovery on the issues of the originality and validity of Apple's copyrights on the works in suit, including intent to deceive the Copyright Office. Judge Schwarzer afforded HP that opportunity.

Some case metadata and case summaries were written with the help of AI, which can produce inaccuracies. You should read the full case before relying on it for legal research purposes.

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Baby, you're no good —

Unsealed court doc shows why apple rejected microsoft’s offer to buy bing, apple exec: microsoft putting $100 billion into bing was "not significant at all.".

Ashley Belanger - Feb 26, 2024 5:13 pm UTC

Unsealed court doc shows why Apple rejected Microsoft’s offer to buy Bing

After failing for almost a decade to convince Apple to ditch Google and set Bing as Safari's default search engine, Microsoft quietly changed tactics and offered to sell Bing to Apple in 2018, unsealed court documents showed Friday, confirming a  Bloomberg report  from last year.

According to Google's post-trial brief filed in the US Department of Justice's antitrust lawsuit against the search giant, Microsoft in 2018 dangled perhaps its best offer to Apple: Either "sell Bing to Apple or enter into a joint venture regarding Bing."

Microsoft seemingly hoped it could tempt Apple into partnering up by promising Bing's search quality had drastically improved, but the proposed deal didn't make it past the conversation stage. Apple rejected the 2018 offer after concluding "that Bing’s search quality had failed to improve and that little credence should be given to Microsoft’s representation of improved quality," Google's brief said.

Apple's senior vice president of services, Eddy Cue—considered one of the antitrust trial's star witnesses—testified that the 2018 deal was no good, Google's brief said.

“Microsoft search quality, their investment in search, everything was not significant at all," Cue said. "And so everything was lower. So the search quality itself wasn’t as good. They weren’t investing at any level comparable to Google or to what Microsoft could invest in. And their advertising organization and how they monetize was not very good, either.”

At the trial, Cue also testified that Apple had also briefly considered building its own search engine . What perhaps stopped Apple from building its own search engine or purchasing Bing was "that Google continued to have a strong lead in search relevance," Google's brief said.

Google retained this lead despite Microsoft investing "nearly $100 billion in Bing" over two decades, the DOJ's brief said, which the US government considered a troubling barrier to entry in the general search market.

In 2020, just as the Safari deal fell under DOJ antitrust scrutiny, Microsoft continued to push Apple to replace Google with Bing for default search on Safari, hoping that investing billions to control the default would help Bing improve search results and expand its 5 percent search market share. But Google defended its default placement, fearing that losing the Safari deal would cause billions in losses—the precise amount redacted in the DOJ's filing.

Ultimately, it proved impossible for Microsoft to edge out Google, partly because "some elements of Google’s search engine are trained on 13 months of data—a volume that would take Bing over 17 years to accumulate," the DOJ's filing said. Apple similarly shut down its own efforts to launch a rival search engine because it would require years of long-term investments. To Apple, it was seemingly a no-brainer to maintain the Safari deal and keep taking billions from Google instead.

The DOJ has argued that Google's deal with Apple— valued at $26 billion in 2021 —helped to build a "moat around Google’s monopoly" by blocking any meaningful new entrants in the general search market. This alleged monopoly, the DOJ claimed, has kept Google from improving its own search quality, only doing so when competitors like Bing started to get ahead. This means that Google can afford to spend years providing slower and less accurate results, the DOJ alleged, without losing its market dominance.

At the antitrust trial, Google CEO Sundar Pichai explained that Google pays Apple 36 percent of its search advertising revenue from Safari to keep its search engine set as the default in Apple's browser because default placements can be "very valuable."

"We know that making it the default will lead to increased usage of our products and services, particularly Google search in this case," Pichai said. "So there is clear value in that, and that’s what we were looking for.”

In 2018, it was estimated that Apple was paid between $3 billion and $9 billion from its deal with Google. These licensing fees helped fund Apple's investments in its own services that generated the company's then-best quarter ever, $10 billion in revenue. At that time, Apple CEO Tim Cook defended the Safari deal with Google as Apple choosing the best search engine for the best user experience, which remains Google's primary defense against monopoly accusations. According to Google, Microsoft simply failed to invest and innovate in search as Google has.

"In sum, Google has won the competition to be the preset default on the Safari and Firefox browsers based solely on Google’s superior product quality and monetization," Google's brief said.

The Safari deal appears to be working out well for Apple, which presumably does not regret declining to purchase Bing in 2018. In the first quarter of 2024, Statista estimated that Apple generated $23 billion in services revenue, besting its $22 billion record quarter at the end of 2023.

The ruling in the DOJ's antitrust case over Google's search empire is expected to come late this year, The Wall Street Journal reported , with closing arguments scheduled for May. If the DOJ wins, Google may have to break up its search business, perhaps even being forced to break off its Chrome browser or Android operating system into separate businesses, The New York Times reported .

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Apple vs. Microsoft: The Real History

Current issue

One was an iconoclastic Baume and Mercier-sporting salesman while the other was an exceedingly good computer programmer and entrepreneur. Their paths would have never crossed had it not been for some common interest and an impending strategic alliance. Industry Leaders Magazine revisits Apple vs. Microsoft rivalry, one where a sappy relationship quickly descended into a hate-fueled business rivalry.

Apple vs. Microsoft rivalry

Apple and Microsoft both were founded in the late 1970s. Microsoft in its nascent years was interested in developing computer software while Apple was designing state-of-the-art desktops. It may come as a surprise but both were critical allies when Microsoft software programs supported the running of Apple’s Personal Computers.

Lesser-known Facts about Apple vs. Microsoft Rivalry

This was a time when Bill Gates and Steve Jobs weren’t sworn enemies. Bill Gates would routinely fly to Cupertino to see what Apple was working on. However, the sappy relationship turned sour during one such visit when Steve Jobs flew to meet Bill Gates on the possibility of making Microsoft Software for the Apple Macintosh computer, with its newly invented Graphical User Interface (GUI). Gates wasn’t particularly impressed with appeared in front of him – neither the GUI nor Jobs’ attitude.

Years later Gates would be quoted in Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography by Isaac Walterson saying, “It was a weird kind of section visit, where Steve was saying, ‘We don’t really need you and we’re doing this great thing, and it’s under the cover.’ He’s in Steve Jobs sales mode, but kind of the sales mode that also says, ‘I don’t need you, but I might let you be involved.’”

Time and again, both the startups observed overlapping of business interests and soon entered into a fierce business rivalry. The following are the various lesser-known facts about Apple vs. Microsoft rivalry .

Steve Jobs said Microsoft made “really third rate products”  

Truimp of the Nerds Apple vs. Microsoft

Steve Jobs had quite a lot to say about Microsoft’s products for the TV documentary ‘ Triumph of the Nerds. ’ According to Jobs, Microsoft had “absolutely no taste” and that they made “really third rate products.”

Steve Jobs’ back-handed compliments didn’t stop as he called Microsoft Corp. an opportunist whose products “lacked insight and creativity.” Here’s the quote in its full glory.

Steve Jobs : “The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste, they have absolutely no taste, and what that means is – I don’t mean that in a small way I mean that in a big way. In the sense that they don’t think of original ideas and they don’t bring much culture into their product ehm and you say why is that important – well you know proportionally spaced fonts come from type setting and beautiful books, that’s where one gets the idea – if it weren’t for the Mac they would never have that in their products and ehm so I guess I am saddened, not by Microsoft’s success – I have no problem with their success, they’ve earned their success for the most part. I have a problem with the fact that they just make really third rate products.”

Steve Jobs believed every word he said

In ‘Creating Jobs’ a 1997 interview with NYT, Steve Jobs said he called Bill Gates to apologize, but he told him he “believed every word of what I’d said but I that I never should have said it in public.”

Bill, thank you. The world’s a better place: Steve Jobs

Apple vs. Microsoft TIME Cover

Even with the ongoing rivalrous Apple vs. Microsoft relationship, not much love was lost. In August 1997, Apple’s stock price descended to 88 cents. Bill Gates stepped in and saved Apple, which at the time, was on the brink of bankruptcy.

Microsoft Corp. agreed to pump $150 million in Apple stock. The controversial cash fusion worked and the value of Apple actually peaked back in 1999.

Steve Jobs appeared on the cover of TIME, thanking Bill Gates for saving Apple.

It is observed that if Microsoft had not taken out its shares at that time than today it would have earned $21.86 billion from its $150 million investment.

Apple’s MacBook Pro Touch Bar vs. Windows Touch Screen

Even today, Apple vs. Microsoft rivalry is as passion-fueled as it was forty years ago. In the year 2016, Microsoft introduced a new Surface-branded lineup aimed to target Apple customers. This lineup came with a touch screen and a stylus and aimed to drive Apple’s high-end MacOS-powered laptops out of business. Apple fought back and by introducing laptops just weeks after to show Microsoft that it hadn’t yet given up.

Microsoft Lumia’s Glorious Failure

Microsoft Corp. entered the mobile selling business to offer an alternative to Apple and Google. Its ambition was quite lofty; one that prompted the Redmond-based giant to buy Nokia. This was at a time when the smartphone market was confirmed to be a total iPhone and Android duopoly with an estimated 96.8% market share. As one could expect, no miracle was registered at Microsoft headquarters. Lumia mobile phones failed miserably and so did Microsoft’s plan to take on iOS and Android smartphones.

Some of these short tales have shown that as long as Apple and Microsoft remain in existence, so will the hate-fueled Apple vs. Microsoft rivalry.

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History of Apple and Microsoft: 4 decades of peaks and valleys

The decades-long relationship between Apple and Microsoft is packed with ups and downs, but it also shaped the evolution of personal computing. The companies have again cozied up to one another, and this time they have a new endgame: enterprise.

evolution apple microsoft

The on-again, off-again relationship between Apple and Microsoft began in earnest in the late 1970s, during the dawn of the PC era. The hot and cold periods were often tied to the personalities of the companies’ founders and longtime leaders: Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Today, Apple and Microsoft are much different companies, with new leaders who don’t lug along the baggage that comes as a result of nearly 40 years of fierce competition.

The following events, from periods of harmony and acrimony alike, define the long, rocky relationship between the two modern-day technology giants.

Youthful innocence of the early ’80s

During the first Macintosh’s development and early years of production, Microsoft was a critical Apple ally. The software pioneer created important programs for Apple’s PC in the early ’80s. “We had more people working on the Mac than [Jobs] did,” Gates said of the early years, according to Walter Isaacson’s biography, Steve Jobs . 

At an Apple event in 1983, Gates told attendees Microsoft expected to earn half of its revenues selling Macintosh software the following year. And when Jobs asked Gates if he thought Mac would become another standard in personal computing, Gates praised the platform: “To create a new standard it takes something that’s not just a little bit different, it takes something that’s really new and really captures people’s attention. And the Macintosh, of all the machines I’ve seen, is the only one that meets that standard.”

Isaacson’s book also detailed just how quickly the relationship between the two companies soured when they started to develop competing OS software with graphical interfaces. Jobs lashed out at Gates during a meeting later that same year and equated Microsoft’s plans for Windows to theft. (Xerox PARC originally developed graphical interfaces, not Apple, but for Jobs that was beside the point.) 

Isaacson also described the Microsoft founder’s response to Jobs’s accusations. “Gates just sat there coolly, looking Steve in the eye, before hurling back, in his squeaky voice, what became a classic zinger. ‘Well, Steve, I think there’s more than one way of looking at it. I think it’s more like we both had this rich neighbor named Xerox and I broke into his house to steal the TV set and found out that you had already stolen it.'”

12 years of Apple without Jobs

Before the end of 1985, Windows 1.0 was released, and Jobs was ousted from Apple, the company he founded nine years earlier. Microsoft then went on to dominate the PC industry while Jobs founded NeXT, where he spent the following 12 years building computer workstations for higher education and business.

Jobs didn’t pry significant market share away from Microsoft during his time with NeXT, but he did continue to regularly lob insults at Microsoft. “The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste,” Jobs said in the 1996 “Triumph of the Nerds” TV documentary. “They have absolutely no taste. And I don’t mean that in a small way, I mean that in a big way, in the sense that they don’t think of original ideas, and they don’t bring much culture into their products,” 

Jobs also said Microsoft’s applications for Mac were “terrible” and called the company’s products “third rate.” He eventually spoke to The New York Times about the documentary and his decision to call Gates and apologize for his comments, but his statement felt disingenuous. “I told him I believed every word of what I’d said but that I never should have said it in public,” Jobs told the newspaper. 

An awkward period of harmony

When Apple acquired NeXT in 1997 and brought Steve Jobs back into the fold, the company was in disarray amid growing uncertainty about the future of Microsoft Office for Mac. During his keynote address at the Macworld Expo that year, Jobs extolled the virtues of partnering with industry leaders and spoke of the need to improve Apple’s partner relations.

Jobs suggested Apple needed help from others and that destructive relationships weren’t helping any tech companies. Then he announced a new pact between Apple and Microsoft, which was received with a chorus of boos from the audience.

The previously unimaginable deal had many components, including a perpetual cross license for all existing patents and patents issued during the next five years; IE became the default browser on Mac; Microsoft said it would release Office for Mac for the next five years; and Gates’s company invested $150 million in Apple.

“Microsoft is going to be part of the game with us as we restore this company back to health,” Jobs said before asking Gates to address the crowd via satellite. The “kumbaya moment” continued when Gates told attendees that some of the most exciting work of his career was done with Jobs on the Mac.

“We think Apple makes a huge contribution to the computer industry,” Gates said. “We think it’s going to be a lot of fun helping out.”

When Gates finished and the attendees’ collective blood pressure dropped, Jobs tried to frame the deal in a way Mac users and Apple fans could appreciate. “We need all the help we can get. If we screw up and we don’t do a good job, it’s not somebody else’s fault, it’s our fault,” Jobs said. “I think if we want Microsoft Office on the Mac we better treat the company that puts it out with a little bit of gratitude. We like their software. The era of setting this up as a competition between Apple and Microsoft is over as far as I’m concerned.”

However, history hinted at what was to come, as Apple inched toward dominance and eventually overtook Microsoft in the computing market by 2010.

A full decade at odds

By the mid-2000s, Jobs had returned to his old ways, and he chastised Microsoft for “copying Google and Apple” despite having a $5 billion annual research and development budget.

A seminal moment occurred in 2007 when Gates and Jobs jointly took the stage for an interview at the D5 conference. The appearance is considered one of the most significant moments in the history of technology. But before the panel with Gates, Jobs couldn’t resist taking a jab at Microsoft during a one-on-one interview with journalist Walt Mossberg. “We’ve got cards and letters from lots of people that say iTunes is their favorite app on Windows,” Jobs said. “It’s like giving a glass of ice water to somebody in hell.”

Later, the joint interview kicked off with a question about the companies’ contributions to the PC and technology industries. Jobs leaned forward, scratched his head, and said: “Bill built the first software company in the industry … Bill was really focused on software really before anybody else had a clue it was the software.”

Gates offer clear praise in his response. “What Steve’s done is quite phenomenal,” he said.

Jobs warmed up eventually and acknowledged the long, rocky relationship between the two men when asked to describe the their greatest misunderstanding. “I think of most things in life as either a Bob Dylan or a Beatles song, but there’s that one line in that one Beatles song — ‘You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead’ — and that’s clearly very true here,” he said.

Opportunities in enterprise rekindle old flames  

A new era of partnership buoyed by opportunities in the enterprise blossomed during the past couple years. With new leaders at the helm of both companies came an end to the insults and grandstanding … for now, at least. The past month saw three separate events that demonstrate the companies’ new commitment to compromise and combined efforts. 

At Apple’s September 2015 new product event in San Francisco, the company invited a Microsoft executive on stage to demonstrate Office 365 apps working in split-screen mode on an iPad Pro. At Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference a week later, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella demoed the company’s iOS apps on an iPhone. And finally, during a keynote at cloud-storage company Box’s BoxWorks conference in late September, when asked about the company’s renewed relationship with Microsoft Apple CEO Tim Cook said he doesn’t believe in holding grudges.

Microsoft’s surprise on-stage presence at an Apple product event showed just how cordial relations have become between the two tech giants. When Nadella used an iPhone on stage at Dreamforce, he acknowledged such a thing would have been unheard of in the past but also used the opportunity to pump up his own company. “I like to call it the iPhone Pro because it has all the Microsoft software and applications on it … It’s pretty amazing.”

Such friendly exchanges between frequent foes might never have taken place if not for the opportunities both companies see in the business market. Apple’s new pursuit of enterprise, paired with Nadella’s penchant for a partnership-friendly corporate culture, let this new relationship flourish.

“If you think back in time, Apple and IBM were foes. Apple and Microsoft were foes,” Cook said at BoxWorks. “Apple and Microsoft still compete today, but frankly Apple and Microsoft can partner on more things than we could compete on, and that’s what the customer wants.” 

Apple and Microsoft might not ultimately share the same sentiment on the consumer side of things, but the leaders of both companies determined the enterprise is an area in which they want to cooperate and better cater to customers. However, nothing in the enterprise is ever a sprint, and the hatchets will need to remain buried for years to come if the two companies hope to realize the fruits of their collective labor.

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Is Apple the New Microsoft? An Anti-Trust Case Study

Feds looking to trust-bust like it's 1998

apple vs microsoft case study

For many industry observers, news that antitrust enforcers may investigate Apple hearkens back to the late '90s during the zenith of Microsoft's rein. At the time, Apple and other tech companies complained that Microsoft exploited its monopoly over PC operating systems. Now Apple is in the hot seat. The company's licensing agreement with developers has come under scrutiny by federal officials for preventing developers from using non-Apple software to make apps. Officials also fear that Apple's advertising restrictions may give the company's iAd service an unfair advantage. How similar is Apple's dominance now to Microsoft's in the late '90s? Two veterans of the tech world weigh in on opposite sides:

  • Apple Has Become the New Microsoft Joe Wilcox has covered Microsoft's antitrust woes since 1997. He says the similarities between Microsoft then and Apple now are striking:
The potential problems before Apple aren't that different from Microsoft... If the Feds see 'cross platform' as fostering competitive market and prohibiting the tools as being anticompetitive -- and they see Apple as having a monopoly over mobile applications -- then, yes, Apple could have problems. 1) The Justice Department claimed that Microsoft had a monopoly on Intel-based PCs. The DOJ never said all personal computers. Similarly, the FTC or DOJ could argue that Apple has a monopoly on iPhone -- or iPhone OS devices. 2) The Justice Department claimed that Microsoft used its monopoly power to restrict third-party platform access to Windows. The Feds identified Java and Netscape's browser as competing platforms. ... Now Java is back, being shut out on yet another computing platform. By restricting the development tools to its own, prohibiting cross-platform tools and favoring its own applications over third parties', Apple looks lots like Microsoft did to Clinton trustbusters in 1997 and 1998.
  • Au Contraire: This Is Different From U.S. v Microsoft  Since the early 80s, Philip Elmer-Dewitt has obsessively covered Apple and the tech world. He says these two case studies are markedly different:
The case against Microsoft was launched after Bill Gates bundled a free Web browser (Explorer) into Windows -- which had a market share at the time in the mid 90's -- cutting off Netscape's air supply (to use the language of Microsoft's internal memos) and driving it out of business. Apple's doesn't enjoy that kind of market share. Its slice of the U.S. smartphone market is smaller than Research in Motion's ( RIMM ) and Google's ( GOOG ) Android share is rapidly catching up. ... Adobe ( ADBE ) might -- and probably has -- filed a complaint against Apple based on the damage Apple has done to its efforts to promote Flash as a cross-platform development tool. And if the DOJ takes the case, it could use the line of attack it used against Microsoft, arguing that the "network effects" of the iPhone OS and the App Store tend to lock customers into Apple's ecosystem, and that to create a level playing field, the two businesses should be forcibly separated. It didn't work 12 year ago, and it's hard to see how it's going to work today.

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Apple Computer, Inc. v. Microsoft Corp.

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit - 35 F.3d 1435

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Facts: apple and microsoft had a copyright dispute over the use..., holding: the court affirmed the district court's decision that microsoft and..., deepdive highlight a legal term to see the definition.

This copyright dispute between Apple and Microsoft concerns the use of graphical user interfaces (GUIs) in computer products. Apple licensed Microsoft to use and sublicense derivative works generated by Windows 1.0, but claimed that subsequent versions of Windows and HP's NewWave software infringed its copyright. The district court ruled that the license only covered visual displays in Windows 1.0, not the interface itself, and subsequent versions did not copy protectable elements from Apple's interface. The appeals court upheld the district court's decision, stating that the similarities between protectable elements were de minimis and the appropriate standard for illicit copying is virtual identity. The court used a two-part test to determine if copying sufficient to constitute infringement has taken place, consisting of extrinsic and intrinsic components. The district court's analysis of whether sufficient copying to constitute infringement has taken place was appropriately conducted under the extrinsic portion of the test.

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Change Management Lessons from Microsoft and Apple [Case Study]

apple vs microsoft case study

It’s useful to examine how others have approached change and transition. In this post, an Apple change management case study, we’ll examine the  change management  lessons from Microsoft and Apple.

The reason to conduct a case study of these companies is both have undergone significant leadership changes in the last six years and the direction, scope, and culture of the companies have changed significantly.

The divergence of the fortunes of Apple and Microsoft highlights perfectly the growth potential achievable from a combined approach of  change and innovation.

Both Microsoft and Apple are great companies with huge customer loyalty and fantastic products.

In the 1990’s Apple was almost broke while Microsoft was in the market-dominant position.

apple vs microsoft case study

Now, of course, Microsoft is still a great company with huge customer loyalty and some great products.

But this pales in comparison to its market dominant position of the 1990s.

apple vs microsoft case study

Microsoft has bounced back in the last three years, joining Apple as a trillion-dollar company (by market cap). This is a significant turn around from the ten years previous where the stock and business was in the doldrums.

In the early 2000’s it could be argued that antitrust legislation has had some negative effect on Microsoft, but closer analysis shows that it has failed to give consumers what they really want; innovative products that constantly push boundaries.

During this time, Apple, on the other hand, had flown in completely the opposite direction. It has taken its customers from the iPod to iPhone to iPad. Microsoft has seen some success with its Xbox, but contrast and compare to Apple’s successes.

Let’s first take a look at Apple:

An analysis of Apple’s culture under Job’s

It’s common knowledge for many, particularly after the biography by Walter Isaacson on Jobs, that his leadership style was autocratic, perhaps even domineering.

According to Vroom-Yetton-Jago Decision-making Model of Leadership and decision making, the culture of Apple under Jobs could be classified as Autocratic.

Specifically, “Autocratic A2” where the leader will consult people for some information, but will then make the decision themselves. Everything had to go through Jobs and that slowed things down.

apple vs microsoft case study

Jobs expected the best from people and demanded excellence at all times.

He was famous for firing people, seemingly on whims in the hallways.

This take charge may have been the kind that was needed when Jobs took over. In 1997 when he’d taken the help, Apple only had months of cash in the bank. He stripped the product line down to just four products.

Drastic action was needed as well as energy and creativity.

Art Levinson, Chairman of Genentech, on behalf of Apple’s Board said about Steve Jobs resignation , “Steve’s extraordinary vision and leadership saved Apple and guided it to its position as the world’s most innovative and valuable technology company.”

Under Jobs, Apple soon began to thrive. Redesigning the Mac, becoming perhaps the best personal computer in the world, with the new OSX to go with it.

Apple also led the digital music revolution with the iPod and iTunes. Reinvented the mobile phone with the iPhone and led mobile computing with the iPad.

apple vs microsoft case study

But such a leadership style does have its negatives.

The challenge of an autocratic leadership style is that it underutilizes employee creativity and collaboration. No matter how much information is solicited in decision making.

Lesson one: don’t change what doesn’t need changing

“Apple is not going to change.” The transition to new world under Cook. Tim Cook wrote this in his first email as CEO when he took over from Steve Jobs in 2011 as Jobs had stepped down after diagnosed with cancer.

When Cook wrote “nothing will change”, he meant the strategy of Apple.

Cook had big shoes to fill.

apple vs microsoft case study

Jobs had been the chairman and CEO of Apple for 14 years until Cook, a longtime Apple executive took over.

apple vs microsoft case study

As Cook took over there was a great deal of skepticism on his ability to successfully lead the company and maintain the innovative output that had made it famous.

Cook knew the company well and presided over much of its success in the background.

Not involved in product design, for which Apple is famous, Cook was an operator: His last position was COO and responsible for the end-to-end supply chain sales and service that drive much of Apple’s success.

Given this, and the company’s general financial health, this was no time for drastic changes, hence the email to employees that nothing will be changing.

Cook’s style, intentionally, or inherently to him was the right one at the right time:  Inspirational, inclusive and collaborative.

During Jobs’s tenure, he insisted many decisions went through him, which slowed things down. Cook changed that, modifying the structure and culture to allow for more decentralized decision making, autonomy and collaboration.

Denise Young Smith, Apples HR executive  said , “Apple’s HR chief: Working with Tim Cook ‘actually helps you to be a better human being’”

This was evident when Cook announced Apple’s first corporate social responsibility program, something Jobs had resisted.

“We have stepped up our social responsibility. We have talked about things and been more transparent about what we’re doing,” Cook said in an  interview  with  The Washington Post  when asked how Apple’s culture has changed.

apple vs microsoft case study

Strategy Apple is a product company with core competencies in product design and extending that user experience all the way through to the buying experience of sales and service.

Apple’s succeeds itself with superior and differentiated products, matched with a proprietary rather than an open-source approach to technology. This locks customers in for longer due to switching costs.

Where to from here?  Apple is a huge company with a humongous amount of cash on the balance sheet and no obvious places to invest it. There is scope to sell more iPhones in India and China, but the market for smartphones does appear to be maturing.

Apple is reportedly entering into car technology and self-driving cars, but it’s hard to know how much of this is core to the corporate DNA.

Warren Buffett invested, buying some 5% of stock. So he certainly thinks the future prospects, on balance, are looking positive.

Microsoft’s underperformance and transition to new CEO, Satya Nadella

Steve Ballmer, succeeded Bill Gates as CEO of Microsoft in 2000 and held the office 2014 when Satya Nadella took over the reins.

apple vs microsoft case study

Microsoft’s results were less than stellar during Ballmer’s tenure.

Microsoft’s share price is 40% lower than it was in 2000, while Apple’s share price has risen from around $50 to over $500 during the same period.

Unlike Cook, Nadella had two jobs: reboot the organizational culture in addition to redefining the company strategy and focus.

Organizational reboot at Microsoft

Nadella’s first focus was on the organizational culture, as he  believes , like Peter Drucker, that “culture eats strategy for breakfast”.

Talking to The Economist, Nadella’s said: “We need a culture that allows you to constantly renew yourself”. Transforming the bombastic competitive style of Steve Ballmer (see the YouTube clips of Ballmer running across the stage and yelling “I love this company”) to one of openness and collaboration, yet delivering real-world results.

This was imperative. Consider the stats:  71% of the workforce is actively disengaged . Annually, this costs U.S. organizations $300 billion.

apple vs microsoft case study

Companies with highly engaged employees have 5 times higher shareholder returns .

apple vs microsoft case study

Microsoft wasn’t failing by any stretch of the imagination, but it did need a boost of authentic energy to avoid languishing along with the likes of IBM.

An  apt quote  from Bill Gates summarises the need for a transition to Nadella: “When your business is healthy, it is difficult to behave as if you are in a crisis. That is why one of the toughest parts of managing, especially in a high-tech business, is to recognise the need for change and make it while you have a chance.”

apple vs microsoft case study

Nadella led by example, as he described the  Wall Street Journal , that while he’s not a fan of a lot of meetings, he does schedule long-form meetings with his leadership team each Friday. Sometimes lasting eight hours.

Nadella’s cultural operating rhythm is guided by the following:

  • Openness and collaboration from secrecy and silos;
  • Value for innovation; and

Nadella then turned his attention to strategy

Keeping the strategy easy to understand is important. As  Kotter highlights in his 8 Step Change Model , well-crafted mission and vision statements impact business results, as it guides the day-to-day behavior and decisions of everyone in the company.

apple vs microsoft case study

The last strategy under Ballmer was unwieldy.  It was :  “ to create a family of devices and services for individuals and businesses that empower people around the globe at home, at work and on the go, for the activities they value most.”

Nadella redefined what Microsoft was about in a simple, uniting and clear statement. The current  stated strategy is : “ Build best-in-class platforms and productivity services for a mobile-first, cloud-first world.”

apple vs microsoft case study

To carry this out he outlines three core tenants: (see 2015 annual report)

  • Reinvent productivity and business processes.
  • Build the intelligent cloud platform.
  • Create more personal computing.

apple vs microsoft case study

The results speak for themselves. Microsoft’s share price nearly doubled since he took over.

apple vs microsoft case study

Following the reformed strategic direction, Microsoft has invested in Azure, it’s a cloud-based services platform. While not profitable yet, it does provide a scale for Microsoft’s other products, such as Office.

The hardware division has been a hit with the Surface Book, which is developing a loyal following. This division is also the virtual reality play of Hololens.

Microsoft also recognized where its core customers hang out and bought LinkedIn for an incredible $26 billion to exploit synergies with their Artificial Intelligence (AI) investments.

Change management lessons: The failure to innovate generally comes in two guises.

The first of these is the  failure to imagine the future.  This imagination relies on people.

Freethinkers, who accept the responsibility of innovation, perhaps even creating new markets in the process, are attracted by companies that will allow them to indulge their creative side.

The second failure to innovate is in the  execution of innovation , which is for the most part driven by collaboration.

In a report by Google in 2010,  The Decisive Decade: how the acceleration of ideas will transform the workplace by 2020 , showed  there is an 81% correlation between collaboration and innovation.

apple vs microsoft case study

Both Apple and Microsoft are able to attract top talent. This top talent produces the creative ideas that go on to produce innovative products that customers love.

Apple had the balance right under Jobs, and while concentrating power at the top, it was able to exploit the collaboration required to turn out great products people loved. Cook is driving the collaboration still more.

Microsoft under Ballmer somehow went wayward and would seem to be better exploiting collaboration for innovation under Nadella.

Microsoft has seen tablet PCs and smartphones come from its creative pool of talent. Yet it is Apple that has emerged as the new dominant force in the new consumer markets.

The result is clear to see: while Microsoft’s share price is 40% lower than it was in 2000 when Nadella took over, while Apple’s share price has risen from around $50 to over $500 during the same period.

The brick wall to innovative progress

apple vs microsoft case study

You can have all the creativity and free-thinking available to you, but unless you can transfer these ideas onto the shop floor and then through to customers in a meaningful way then innovation will stay on the drawing board.

Apple’s product evolution perfectly describes the innovative process. Innovation has its feet firmly in the shoes of small steps. They are experimental in nature and part of an innovative culture is the acceptance of failure.

The problem that organizations like Microsoft face is marrying up these small, experimental innovations – with their inevitable failures on route to big successes – with their need to generate revenue. And that is rarely, if ever, a fair fight.

Existing operations are large, established, and revenue and earnings generative. Managers of these operations have the clout to get their way: after all, without them, the company would have no profits.

On the other hand, innovation is by its very nature risky with no guarantee of profit generation. Experimentation distracts focus from existing businesses.

The most vociferous of enemies to innovation is to be found inside an organization.

Solving the internal conflict between innovation and the status quo

apple vs microsoft case study

Clearly, Apple succeeded in doing what Microsoft has consistently failed to achieve: it has solved the riddle of partnering existing operations with an innovative culture.

Steve Jobs was able to instill his own innovative thinking into the entirety of Apple’s business model. He constantly pushed his creatives to move forward, giving them ‘official permission’ to do so when he said things like:

‘I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.’

Building internal partnerships toward innovation

Innovative leaders and the leaders of existing operations first have to realize they need each other to exist.

Both Nadella and Cook transformed the organizational culture with a focus on collaboration to aid innovation.

In the case of Apple, the strategic direction didn’t need changing, it was to recognize the company they had become required a new way of working if they were to keep up the cutting edge product innovation.

Microsoft needed to change both strategy and culture.

The lesson is that innovation does not just magically emerge. It is created by the structures and management approaches put in place by management.

The importance of leadership in managing change for innovation

With such internal conflicts and the resistance to innovation an unequal battleground, senior management must take a senior role in not only establishing but then promoting an environment where innovation is embedded in the culture of the organization.

It may be that leaders will have to get their hands dirty, becoming involved in resolving low-level conflicts.

While these conflicts may be concentrated between the self-interests of the existing business and the innovators. It is also likely that as the innovation culture grows the number of bright ideas will explode.

Trying to do too much at one time is as damaging as doing nothing.

Steve Jobs had the magic formula and Cook is extending it in a new way. Nadella also understands. There is a need to produce profit today and innovate for a profit tomorrow.

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The Outcome of the Lawsuit between Apple and Microsoft – A Comprehensive Analysis

The Outcome of the Lawsuit between Apple and Microsoft - A Comprehensive Analysis


Welcome to this informative article on the outcome of the lawsuit between Apple and Microsoft. In this comprehensive analysis, we will explore the intricacies of this legal battle and provide you with a thorough understanding of the final verdict. It is important to note that while we aim to provide accurate and reliable information, it is always advisable to cross-reference with other sources or consult legal advisors for a complete understanding of the matter. So, let’s dive into the fascinating world of intellectual property litigation and uncover the outcome of this high-profile case.

The Outcome of the Apple vs Microsoft Copyright Case: A Detailed Analysis

📋 Content in this article

In the realm of intellectual property law, the lawsuit between Apple and Microsoft has garnered significant attention due to its implications for copyright protection. This comprehensive analysis aims to delve into the outcome of this high-profile case, shedding light on the key legal concepts and their impact on both parties involved.

1. Background of the Case: – Apple, a leading technology company, filed a lawsuit against Microsoft, alleging copyright infringement. – The focus of the lawsuit revolved around Apple’s claim that Microsoft had copied certain elements of its user interface design, specifically related to their operating systems.

2. The Concept of Copyright: – Copyright is a form of intellectual property protection granted to original creative works, such as literary, artistic, and musical works. – It provides the creator with exclusive rights to control the use and distribution of their work, preventing others from copying or reproducing it without permission.

3. Apple’s Allegations: – Apple argued that Microsoft had copied specific visual elements and user interface features in their operating system, which they claimed were protected by copyright. – They contended that these elements were integral to their product’s identity and had been copied without authorization.

4. Microsoft’s Defense: – Microsoft countered Apple’s claims by asserting that the elements in question were functional and utilitarian, rather than creative expressions deserving copyright protection. – They argued that these design choices were necessary for compatibility and interoperability purposes, and not an act of deliberate infringement.

5. The Court’s Analysis: – The court examined the elements at the center of the dispute and considered both parties’ arguments. – They analyzed whether the alleged copied elements were protectable under copyright law or simply functional aspects not subject to protection. – The court also evaluated the extent of similarity between the products and any potential impact on consumer confusion or market competition.

The Legal Battle Between Apple and Microsoft: Basis for Lawsuit and Court Verdict

In recent years, the legal battle between Apple and Microsoft has captured the attention of the technology industry and the general public alike. This article aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of the outcome of the lawsuit between these two tech giants. To fully understand the basis for the lawsuit and the court verdict, it is essential to delve into the background of this long-standing dispute.

The dispute between Apple and Microsoft dates back to the 1980s when Apple accused Microsoft of copyright infringement. At that time, Apple claimed that Microsoft’s operating system, Windows, copied significant elements of Apple’s graphical user interface (GUI), which was introduced in its Macintosh computers. This accusation formed the basis for the lawsuit that would shape the future dynamics between these two companies.

After years of legal proceedings and negotiations, Apple and Microsoft reached a settlement in 1997. This settlement included a cross-licensing agreement that allowed Microsoft to use certain elements of Apple’s GUI in its operating systems. Additionally, Microsoft agreed to invest $150 million in Apple, which helped the struggling company regain its footing in the tech industry.

Fast forward to more recent times, and the legal battle between Apple and Microsoft has taken a different turn. The focus has shifted from copyright infringement to patent infringement. Patents are legal protections granted to inventors to prevent others from making, using, or selling their inventions without permission. They play a crucial role in the technology sector, where innovation is highly valued.

The lawsuit between Apple and Microsoft centered around various patents related to smartphones and mobile operating systems. Both companies accused each other of infringing on their respective patents in their smartphones and operating systems. The case involved complex legal arguments and extensive technical analysis of the patented technologies.

In 2012, after several years of litigation, a jury delivered a verdict in favor of Apple, finding that Microsoft had indeed infringed on several of Apple’s patents.

Title: The Outcome of the Lawsuit between Apple and Microsoft – A Comprehensive Analysis

Introduction: In the ever-evolving landscape of technology, legal disputes between major companies can have significant implications for the industry as a whole. One such high-profile case is the lawsuit between Apple and Microsoft. This article aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of the outcome of this lawsuit, shedding light on the legal issues involved and emphasizing the importance of staying current on this topic. However, readers are strongly encouraged to verify and cross-reference the content of this article, as legal matters can be complex and subject to change.

Background: The lawsuit between Apple and Microsoft stemmed from a dispute over patents and copyright infringement related to their respective operating systems. Both companies claimed that the other had copied certain features and designs, leading to a protracted legal battle that drew widespread attention.

Key Legal Issues: 1. Patent Infringement: One of the main legal issues in this case was whether Apple’s patents covering certain features of their operating system were infringed upon by Microsoft. Patent infringement refers to the unauthorized use, manufacture, or sale of a patented invention.

2. Copyright Infringement: Another significant issue was whether Microsoft’s operating system violated Apple’s copyright protection by imitating or copying certain design elements or user interface features. Copyright infringement occurs when someone without permission reproduces, distributes, or displays a copyrighted work.

3. Trade Dress: Trade dress refers to the overall appearance and image of a product or service that may serve as a source identifier. The lawsuit also touched upon whether Microsoft’s operating system violated Apple’s trade dress rights by imitating distinctive elements that created consumer confusion.

Outcome: After a lengthy legal battle, the outcome of the lawsuit between Apple and Microsoft resulted in a settlement agreement. As per the settlement terms, both companies agreed to drop their claims against each other. The specific details of the settlement remain confidential, making it challenging to ascertain the exact terms and conditions.

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The Fifth Person

Apple vs Microsoft: Which is the stronger tech giant?

Photo of Adam Wong

Apple versus Microsoft is one of the most famous and storied rivalries in corporate history. Both companies were founded in Silicon Valley in the 1970s and were fierce competitors in the home computer market in their early history. By the 1990s, Microsoft had won the home computer war (Windows still holds a 73% market share in desktop operating systems worldwide), but Apple stormed backed in the new millennium with the invention of the iPhone which launched a whole new ecosystem of ‘apps’ and the age of mobile computing.

Apple and Microsoft are still tech giants today – they regularly swap top position as the most valuable public company in the U.S. – and remain dominant companies in their industries. It’s easy to think that Apple and Microsoft remain the other’s prime opponent to this day. However, despite their past competition, both companies are no longer rivals like they once were. In this article, we’ll discover why are Apple and Microsoft no longer primarily compete with each other, and which has a ‘stronger’ business model.

Apple’s business model

Apple’s business model primarily revolves around consumer tech and hardware. Let’s have a look at Apple’s segmental revenue to better understand its business model. Apple splits its business segments into key product categories – iPhone; Mac; iPad; Wearables, Home and Accessories; and Services.

apple vs microsoft case study

Quick breakdown:

  • The iPhone , Mac , and iPad categories are self-explanatory.
  • Wearables, Home and Accessories includes sales of AirPods, Apple TV, Apple Watch, Beats products, HomePod, iPod touch, and accessories.
  • Services include sales from the company’s advertising, AppleCare, cloud, digital content (App Store), payment, and other services.

As you can tell straightaway, the iPhone remains Apple’s crown jewel and largest revenue contributor. This is no surprise as the iPhone remains the most popular smartphone brand around the world. The success of each new version of the iPhone will continue to play a major role in Apple’s financial performance.

Services is the next biggest segment and is increasingly becoming Apple’s key growth driver. This is mainly due to two reasons. The first is that the Services segment is a high-margin business compared to Apple’s other product hardware categories; Apple’s Services segment generates gross margins of 70% compared to 35% for Products.

apple vs microsoft case study

Next, many of Apple services are subscriptions in nature: AppleCare, iCloud, Apple Music, Apple TV+ all charge recurring annual or monthly fees for users to continue using their services. These subscriptions generate stable, predictable revenues for Apple. On the other hand, most consumers may only purchase a new iPhone or device once every few years.

Microsoft’s business model

Microsoft’s business model primarily revolves around software and cloud computing. However, the company also has stakes in hardware, gaming, search, and a social network (LinkedIn). Microsoft splits its business into three main segments: Productivity and Business Processes, Intelligent Cloud, and More Personal Computing.

apple vs microsoft case study

These segments are further broken down into key product categories.

Productivity and Business Processes

  • Office comprises Office Commercial and Office Consumer products and subscriptions
  • LinkedIn comprises LinkedIn revenue and subscriptions

Intelligent Cloud:

  • Server products and cloud services comprises Azure and other cloud services
  • Enterprise services comprises Premier Support services and Microsoft Consulting services

More Personal Computing

  • Windows comprises licensing of the Windows operating system
  • Devices includes sales of Surface and PC accessories
  • Gaming comprises sales of Xbox hardware and services, subscriptions, and video games
  • Search advertising comprises Bing advertising revenue

Sorted by revenue, the top four product categories are Server products and cloud services, Office, Windows, and Gaming.

apple vs microsoft case study

As you can see, Microsoft’s business model is more diversified and generates revenues from a wider breadth of sources. Windows and Office, probably two of Microsoft’s most well-known products, remain the world’s dominant desktop operating system and office productivity software respectively to this day. (Case in point: I wrote this article on Microsoft Word on a Windows laptop.)

In the Gaming segment, Microsoft’s Xbox shares a 20-year rivalry with Sony’s PlayStation. While the latter has outsold the former over the years, the Xbox is regarded as a qualified success for Microsoft. Other than Xbox, Microsoft also owns a number of game publishers and developers . With the latest news that the company is acquiring Activision Blizzard (the makers of Warcraft and Call of Duty), Microsoft will cement its position as a major player in the video game market which is projected to grow to over US$200 billion by 2023 .

Finally, Microsoft’s cloud computing business arguably the largest growth driver for the company. With our lives and work becoming increasingly digitized post-pandemic, the global cloud computing market is projected to grow to US$1.3 trillion by 2025. Microsoft is already No. 2 in global cloud market and can count on its strong base of enterprise clients as many progressively pivot from a traditional enterprise computing environment to a cloud-first one.

CEO Satya Nadella has openly emphasized the importance of cloud in Microsoft’s business: ‘At our core, Microsoft is the productivity and platform company for the mobile-first and cloud-first world.’

Financial performance

Now let’s do a quick comparison of their key financial ratios.

apple vs microsoft case study

The first thing that jumps out is that Apple’s return on equity (ROE) is a massive 147.44%. (Microsoft’s ROE of 47.08% is nothing to sniff at too; an ROE above 15% is considered good.)

The reason why Apple’s ROE is so high is due to share buybacks : Apple has been steadily repurchasing stock over the last 10 years and could continue doing so for the next 15 years . Apple also employs more debt in its capital structure as seen by its higher debt-to-asset ratio of 82.03%. A debt-heavier capital structure lowers the proportion of equity, which boosts ROE.

On the other hand, Microsoft enjoys higher gross and net profit margins due to its business model; selling software typically has a higher margin than hardware.

As dominant tech companies, Apple and Microsoft have done tremendously well over the last five years. From 2017 to 2021, Apple’s revenue has grown by 60% to US$365.8 billion, and its net profit has grown by 96% to US$94.7 billion. Likewise, Microsoft’s revenue has grown by 74% to US$168.1 billion, and its net profit has grown by 140% to US$61.2 billion over the same period.

The fifth perspective

Apple and Microsoft are both great companies to own. However, just like how you may choose a Mac over a PC (or vice versa), which is a ‘better’ company boils down to your personal preference.

Apple is a leader in consumer tech and hardware, while Microsoft is a frontrunner in software and cloud. Apple has enormous brand equity among consumers, while Microsoft maintains the backbone of enterprise IT operations around the world. At the same time, Apple currently relies on sales of the iPhone and Apple devices to keep users within its ecosystem of apps and subscriptions, while Microsoft’s business model is much more diversified.

At the end of the day though, you don’t necessarily have to pick one. As a Windows and iPhone user like me, you can always own both.

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The Motley Fool

Better Tech Stock: Microsoft vs. Apple

W all Street is particularly bullish about tech stocks now. Excitement about budding markets like artificial intelligence (AI) and easing inflation sent the Nasdaq-100 Technology Sector index up 47% since last February.

As the world's two most valuable companies and leaders in tech, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) have seen their shares rise 54% and 18% during the period. These companies are some of the most attractive ways to invest in the industry, with one a king in productivity software and the other leading the consumer tech market.

Microsoft and Apple have long histories of delivering consistent stock growth, and that looks unlikely to change. Over the last year, Microsoft emerged as one of the biggest names in AI. Meanwhile, Apple is home to a highly profitable services business and is gaining market share in the virtual reality/augmented reality (VR/AR) industry.

So, let's examine these businesses and determine whether Microsoft or Apple is the better tech stock this February.

In January, Microsoft overtook Apple as the world's most valuable company, with its market cap at just over $3 trillion.

The company is a tech behemoth with positions in multiple areas of the industry, leading in productivity software, game consoles, cloud computing, and operating systems. Its diverse business model allows it to profit from tailwinds across tech, making its stock an exceptionally reliable option.

Since 2019, Microsoft's annual revenue climbed 68%, with operating income up 106%. Additionally, its free cash flow jumped 76% to $67 billion.

The company has significant cash reserves, allowing it to keep investing in its business and retain its prominent role in tech. Microsoft became a leader in AI after sinking billions into ChatGPT developer OpenAI. The partnership granted Microsoft access to some of the sector's most advanced AI models, which it used to carve out a lucrative position in the budding industry.

The AI market is projected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 37% through 2030, which would see it hit nearly $2 trillion before the end of the decade.

Meanwhile, Microsoft used OpenAI's technology to introduce AI features across its product lineup. In 2023, Microsoft added new AI tools to its Azure cloud platform, integrated aspects of ChatGPT into its Bing search engine, and boosted productivity in its Office software suite with the help of AI.

Apple hasn't had it as easy as Microsoft in the last year. In 2023, macroeconomic headwinds caught up with the company, leading to four consecutive quarters of revenue declines.

The streak was finally broken in Apple's latest quarter, with revenue rising 2% year over year to $120 billion in the first quarter of 2024. The company beat Wall Street forecasts by more than $1 billion.

However, outperforming estimates wasn't enough to quell investor concern over its iPhone business, with its stock down nearly 6% year to date. Smartphone sales rose 6% in Q1 2024, yet fell 13% in China. The country has increased restrictions on the iPhone, threatening business from Apple's third-largest market.

As a result, it's promising that the company is expanding its product lineup and prioritizing digital markets like services to lean less on iPhone sales over the long term.

The company released the Vision Pro, its first VR/AR headset, earlier this year. Launching at $3,499, the new device created significant hype for the technology. If the company employs a similar pricing strategy to that used with past products and brings down the cost with subsequent generations, an investment in Apple could be an investment in the future leader of the VR/AR market.

The VR market alone is expected to grow at a CAGR of 31% until at least 2030. It could be smart to invest in the tech giant at the very start of its journey into the industry.

Alongside free cash flow that hit $107 billion last year, Apple has the funds to overcome current headwinds and keep investing in high-growth areas of tech.

Is Microsoft or Apple the better tech stock?

Microsoft and Apple have exciting long-term outlooks, with opportunities to profit from multiple subsectors of tech.

However, Microsoft's more significant priority on digital markets like cloud computing and AI makes it less vulnerable to macroeconomic headwinds and potentially the more reliable buy.

Meanwhile, earnings-per-share estimates indicate Microsoft has more growth potential than Apple in the near term.

Microsoft's earnings could hit just under $16 per share, while Apple's may reach nearly $8 per share in the next two fiscal years. Multiplying those figures by the companies' forward price-to-earnings ratios (Microsoft's 35 and Apple's 28) yields a stock price of $546 for Microsoft and $218 for Apple.

Looking at their current positions, these projections would see Microsoft's stock rise by 35% and Apple's increase by 20% by fiscal 2026. If these projections are correct, Microsoft has significantly more room to run and is the better tech stock to buy this month.

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Better Tech Stock: Microsoft vs. Apple

Windows vs macOS: Which is better for you?

We compare the operating systems to see which one suits your needs the best

Windows 11 logo vs macos logo

The Windows vs macOS debate has raged for decades. Generally speaking, both operating systems deliver similar functionality However, there are enough differences to draw folks to one camp over the other.

It comes down to what’s most important to you. Do you want an easy-to-use operating system, or one that provides greater flexibility? Is security a priority? What about interoperability with other systems? All of these questions are important in figuring out if Windows or macOS is better for you.

Below, we’ll go over the most important features of Windows 11 and macOS Ventura , the two latest iterations of these titanic operating systems. Our goal is to provide an overview of what Windows and macOS have to offer to help you determine which OS best suits your needs. If you're just seeking validation for your preferred OS, you won't find that here.

With that said, let's see how Windows and macOS stack up against one another.

Windows vs macOS: Hardware 

macOS is exclusive to Apple computers. That means it's only meant to run on devices like the MacBook , iMac , Mac Mini and Mac Pro . In contrast, Windows runs on everything from powerful workstations to the diminutive Raspberry Pi . If it computes, it likely runs on or can run Windows.

As of April 2022, 74% of computers worldwide run on Windows, according to StatCounter . This dwarfs macOS, which accounts for 15%; with Linux, ChromeOS and “unknown” filling out the other 10%. That makes Windows one of the most ubiquitous operating systems on the planet.

Computers running on Windows also have a greater degree of customization compared to Apple’s. You’re free to change a PC’s CPU, GPU, memory and storage far easier than you can with an Apple device – if you can even customize said Apple product at all.

Since Windows runs on more devices, you’re free to select a machine that suits your budget. While Apple generally manufactures quality hardware, the company’s prices can be steep for some people. By comparison, you can buy one of the best budget laptops like the Microsoft Surface Go 2 for under $500.

With that said, choosing a device from among the best Windows laptops can be challenging. Even machines with similar or identical specs may perform differently because they’re manufactured by various vendors. On the other hand, Apple manufactures its own hardware and software, which makes it simpler to select which computer you need.

Windows vs macOS: First-party apps 

Windows and macOS each come with their own slew of first-party apps and programs. You’ll get the basics with both, including a web browser, file explorer, calendar, voice recorder, video editor, widgets, cloud-based storage and more.

Windows and macOS have different names for similar office tools. Where Microsoft Office has Word, Excel and PowerPoint, Apple’s iWork suite has Pages, Numbers and Keynote. Given their similarities, it’s hard to say which OS has better office tools. Microsoft Office is more widely used because there are more Windows machines in the world. However, unlike Microsoft Office, iWork is completely free.

Windows vs macOS: Third-party apps 

You can download third-party apps on both Windows and macOS via the web or the platforms’ respective app storefronts.

While the Mac App Store is a bit more vital than the Microsoft Store in terms of apps, both operating systems support a variety of programs and can download and run them directly from the web. This is a major selling point of a laptop or desktop PC -- the promise that you can download files and software directly to your device, without being limited to what's on offer in an app store.

However, the variety of software available is generally more diverse on Windows than Mac. This is especially true of PC games, which are generally designed for Windows PCs and only sometimes offer native Mac versions.

While any software that runs on Windows can be made to run on macOS if you emulate a Windows environment on your Mac using software like Parallels, that requires a fair bit of effort. So in general, it's wise to think about what kinds of software you need to use regularly, then check and see if that software is available on Windows, Mac, or both. 

Windows vs macOS: Security/safety 

Because of Windows’ open nature, computers running the operating system have been besieged with viruses, spyware, ransomware and other types of vicious malware. Since Windows is so ubiquitous, it’s no surprise that it has to contend with so much malware. Microsoft has done an admirable job releasing security updates in recent years. However, given the sheer number of Windows users, the operating system will suffer a greater volume of attacks.

macOS is more secure than Windows because of the company’s policies and the lower number of machines running Apple’s operating system. Fewer computers mean fewer people creating malware for the OS. But as we said, that doesn’t make macOS impervious to malware. You’d still do well to install antivirus software on Macs.

Windows vs macOS: Compatibility 

When it comes to compatibility and device integration, no company can match Apple’s ecosystem. Because the company manufactures its own hardware and software, it’s able to make devices like the iPhone , iPad , MacBook, Apple Watch , AirPods and Homepod work well with one another.

For example, if you get a text message on your iPhone, you can respond on your iPad or MacBook. Thanks to services like iCloud and AirDrop, you’re also able to share photos and files across various Apple devices. The Apple Watch can unlock a Mac or iPhone when it’s in close proximity, while features like Stage Manager allow you to share work across Macs and iPads. The updated Continuity Camera will even let you use your iPhone as a webcam .

Because Windows PCs and devices supporting Windows are manufactured by different companies, the platform doesn’t enjoy the same level of interoperability as the Apple ecosystem.  But while you can’t seamlessly share data between devices as you would with Apple products, some integration still exists on Windows.

Apps like Microsoft Launch and Phone Link work with the best Android phones . As with an iPhone and Mac, you’re able to share files and web pages and even SMS messages between devices. This isn’t as expansive or intuitive as Apple’s vaunted ecosystem, but it’s something.

Windows vs macOS: Update frequency

Windows receives far more updates than macOS, especially security updates. While it’s good that Microsoft often swiftly releases security updates, it can get frustrating updating Windows multiple times a month (as is sometimes the case).

Though updates help beef up security on Windows, these updates sometimes cause issues of their own. As we said, there are multiple computers capable of running Windows. Because of that, some updates could cause unforeseen problems. Trying to remedy these issues can potentially cause further problems that require additional patches.

macOS updates don’t always work as intended, but they have a better track record than Windows updates. Since Apple doesn’t release so many updates, it can take its time fine-tuning them. And since the company is releasing updates for computers it manufactures, it can better ensure updates won’t cause many (or any) problems.

As far as major planned updates that introduce major new features, both companies now release one every year. Microsoft used to introduce significant updates more frequently but has opted for annual releases like Apple. Macs will get the release version of macOS Ventura in Fall 2022 and the next big Windows 11 update is also expected at that time.

Windows vs macOS: User experience 

Apple designed macOS to be intuitive for most people. The company’s “it just works” tagline exits for a reason. And this isn’t true of just macOS. All of Apple’s operating systems, from iOS , iPadOS , WatchOS and so on are built with the user experience at the forefront. If you’ve never used a computer before, you’ll likely find macOS easier to handle.

On its surface, Windows isn’t overly complicated – especially Windows 11. However, there’s a deeper well of menus and options when compared to macOS. This can make troubleshooting a pain, but it also means there are multiple solutions to any given problem. Windows isn’t as elegant as macOS, especially when you really dig deep and see anachronistic windows and programs – but you get a greater range of flexibility than what Apple allows.

The Windows taskbar and macOS Dock is a point of contention for some. On macOS, clicking on an app’s icon in the Dock doesn’t open a window. Instead, you’ll see the app’s menu at the top of the screen in the Menu Bar. This can be confusing for Windows users who are used to seeing Menu options within an app’s or program’s window. Windows’ taskbar offers more options. For example, hovering the mouse cursor over a taskbar button brings up a small version of its program window.

Windows vs macOS: Gaming 

This section isn’t even a contest. If you want to do serious gaming on your computer, Macs won’t suffice. While macOS has Apple Arcade and its version of the Steam store, the offerings pale in comparison to what’s available on Windows platforms. And when you factor in hardware customization that allows users to upgrade components like graphics cards and CPUs, there’s no question that gaming is superior on PC.

Windows has the Xbox app, which lets you play games purchased from the Microsoft and Xbox stores. Xbox Game Pass , which is Microsoft’s gaming subscription service, offers hundreds of downloadable and streaming games from Microsoft’s own first-party studios as well as third-party publishers. Game launchers like Steam and GOG also have robust libraries available for PC players. The emulation scene is also healthy on PC.

Though Apple is behind on gaming, the company is trying to make its platform more enticing to gamers. Things may soon change thanks to the Apple M2 chip , macOS Ventura and the Metal 3 API . With these, Apple hopes to make games look better and take advantage of the graphical capabilities of Apple silicon. Considering how high-profile titles like Resident Evil Village and No Man’s Sky are expected for Macs later this year, it seems Apple is finally going to deliver high-end gaming experiences.

But presently, Windows PC is the best gaming platform outside of dedicated home video game consoles.

Windows vs macOS: Which is better for you? 

Apple computers are great for professional video and audio editors because programs like Final Cut Pro have greater adoption in creative fields. Macs packing the powerful Apple M1 and Apple M2 chips are on par with dedicated workstations. The interoperability between Apple devices and services is the envy of many tech brands and the platform’s security is practically unrivaled. It’s also the easiest operating system for first-time PC users because of its intuitive interface.

If you value high-end PC gaming, then Windows is the only real choice given the vast support the platform receives from game developers and publishers. Windows’ larger adoption rate and affordable hardware options also make it ideal for most people, even if the operating system is sometimes unintuitive or subject to the majority of malware attacks. Though perhaps not as user-friendly as macOS, Windows delivers a good balance between simplicity and complexity.

At the risk of disappointing you, our dear reader, we’ll abstain from declaring a definitive winner. Windows and macOS each have their strengths and weaknesses. Microsoft’s operating system offers a greater degree of freedom in terms of software and hardware customization and it’s available for more devices. And while Apple’s hardware offerings aren’t as robust or affordable as Windows PCs, you’ll get a more finely-tuned experience that’s designed with ease of use at the forefront. It all comes down to what you need your computer for.

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Tony Polanco

Tony is a computing writer at Tom’s Guide covering laptops, tablets, Windows, and iOS. During his off-hours, Tony enjoys reading comic books, playing video games, reading speculative fiction novels, and spending too much time on X/Twitter. His non-nerdy pursuits involve attending Hard Rock/Heavy Metal concerts and going to NYC bars with friends and colleagues. His work has appeared in publications such as Laptop Mag, PC Mag, and various independent gaming sites.

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Apple vs Microsoft Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Home >> Harvard Case Study Analysis Solutions >> Apple vs Microsoft

Apple vs Microsoft Case Solution

Focusing on effective virtual techniques.

Microsoft has set "Computer generated simulation" at the center of its business procedure. It depends on how it further develops the shopping experience in various planning strategies. It has been informed that Microsoft's upper hand is its augmented simulation in worldwide scale.

"Cloud-first, portable first"

One more upper hand of Microsoft's business procedure is its "cloud-first and portable first" rationale. Microsoft business procedure puts an incredible accentuation on cloud portion of the business. It helps in the portability of encounters and gives a due consideration to this bearing.


The ultimate focus on "tech intensity" has been the recent focus and addition in the Microsoft's business strategy.This shows that Microsoft has been focusing on a combination of social mentality and business processes that remunerates the turn of events and engendering of digital abilities.

apple vs microsoft case study

Strategic issues of the firms

The issues administered by the Apple Inc. incorporates the instability's for buyer interest and high work costs. This results fromhow the results of the organization are producing universally under the management of talented works, which can ultimately increase the work costs. Besides, the info part of the associations are made in the different countries, this dependence on the different countries or third party makes the many troubles for the Apple Inc. In addition, the workspace of the organization has become a bit stain and loses its significant in development and innovation strategies. For instance, the organization's dependence on "PDA's" was a channel on the organization's assets. Likewise, there was incontinency in the association's method.

The company's direction has seen with the lack of efforts with respects the items the organization would offer. The lack of marketing skills, customer focus and management Performa has lessen the Apple's competitive advantage and skills.(B, 2017)

Microsoft has a few issues related to its administrative choices. One such issue for Microsoft is that its current circumstance isn't confronting the resistance. Another issue that comes from the market withdrawal of the Microsoft association. For instance, the association stood by for so long after the sendoff of its first thing. This market hole and detachments causes many troubles for the association. Besides, the insufficient mix of Microsoft among security and the leader's gadgets structure makes many difficulties for the organization.

One more essential issue that approached after a great deal of examination is that Microsoft battles with advancement strategies badly. This results from its client center and their least interest in the client's necessities. Besides, Microsoft had failed to accomplice for incredible innovation. It had made the mindset and generalization that everyone would need to be worked by them to accomplice. (Bort, 2000)


It has been recommended to the firms to overcome its strategical issues by identifying the firm's pitfalls and implementing the attributes. With the Apple Inc., it has been recommended to the firm to look into its pricing strategy in order to expand its customer base. The pricing strategy of Apple is quite premium, which makes the people less approachable. It is very important for the company to keep in the mind them all the social and economic forces and differentiate its products and pricing schemes according to it. The company's productivity is quite moderate these days, which shows that the company should focus on its products diversification and productivity in order to appeal other segments.

For Microsoft, it is highly recommended for the firm to implement "end-user device strategy" in order to overcome innovation issues. This will help the company overcome breaches issues and prevail security. Since the customer's requirement are dynamic and changes with time, so it is highly important for the company to develop its innovation techniques so that the customer's continues to attract towards them despite of the technological change. There is no exception that the company has strong loyalty and customer base, but what really lacks is its innovation and technological advancement. The firm needs to grow their market through more imaginative procedures and organizational partnerships.


Since the association can't be won without the affective management methods and systems, so the organization should execute the techniques that help the organization in succeeding future development and achievement. Both of the associations (for example the Apple and Microsoft) are the greatest and prominent in the business. Both the associations have upset the inventive business by giving us two amazing programming applications and contraptions like Mac and PC.

Taking everything into account, the organizations additionally have a few difficulties that influence its future development and funds. It has been recommended to the firms to overcome its strategical issues by identifying the firm's pitfalls and implementing the attributes. With the Apple Inc., it has been recommended to the firm to look into its pricing strategy in order to expand its customer base. On the other hand, it is proposed to Microsoft to implement "end-user device strategy" in order to overcome innovation issues. They genuinely must conquer these difficulties by executing administrative monetary procedures and strategical plans...................

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apple vs microsoft case study

Apple vs Microsoft Case Solution & Answer

Home » Case Study Analysis Solutions » Apple vs Microsoft

Apple vs Microsoft Case Study Analysis


The organization cannot be prevail without the skilled management strategies and capabilities. This review is conducted to distinguish and compare the strategies followed by the two organizations in software industry for example Apple and Microsoft. The main aim of the review is to comprehend the different management strategies followed by these organizations in getting the advantages in view of the administration life cycle model. Additionally, the concentrate likewise characterizes the issues experiencing by these associations and what are the potential techniques to overcome them.

Brief Overview of the Firms

Apple Inc. is one of the most significant and notable American enterprise settled in Cupertino, California. The organization is well known for making the remarkable electronics and programming like iPad, Mac, Apple watch and so on. Microsoft, on the other hand, is well known US based global organization, settled in Redmond, Washington. The organization is renowned for assembling and permitting of the electronic items, for example, PCs. Apple Inc. focus on the crowd from the metropolitan urban areas, though Microsoft, on the other hand, focus on the audience lives in both metropolitan and rural regions. Both of these organizations follows various methodologies and management strategies to stay ahead on the lookout. When it comes to marketing strategies and implementation, Apple known to be the most effective when comes to its branding and marketing. Whereas, Microsoft, on the other hand is well-known for its usability and durability. Both of these firms are well known for its competitive advantages such as Apple Inc. is well known for its excellent R&D of the product.

Brief Description of the Issues

The managerial decisions straightforwardly affect the company’s competitive advantage and development. Apple Inc. is the most dubious industry. The issues looked by the business includes the vacillation’s for purchaser interest and high work costs. This is because of the fact that the products of the company are manufacturing internationally under the supervision of skilled labors, this subsequently increase the organization’s cost. Moreover, the input component of the organizations are made in the various nations, this reliance on the various nations or outsider party creates the many difficulties for the Apple Inc. On the other hand, Microsoft, has several issues associated with its managerial decisions. One such issue for Microsoft is that its environment is not facing the opposition. One more issue that comes from the market disengagement of the Microsoft organization. For example, the organization sat still for such a long time after the launch of its first item. This market gap and disconnections causes many difficulties for the organization. Moreover, the deficient combination of Microsoft among security and the executive’s devices framework creates many challenges for the company.

Since the organization cannot be prevail without the affective management techniques and strategies, so it is very important for the company to implement the strategies that help the company in prospering future growth and success.  Both of the organizations (i.e. the Apple and Microsoft) are the biggest and notable in the business. Both the organizations have revolutionized the innovative business by giving us two totally different programming applications and contraptions like Mac and PC. As far as the significance are concerned, the firms also have several challenges that affects its future growth and finances. It is very important for them to overcome these challenges by implementing affective managerial economic techniques and strategical plans…………………..

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