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Apple Wiki

Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), based in Redmond, Washington, is the developer and publisher of Microsoft Office and Microsoft Windows, the predominant operating system of the PC platform. Its competitors include Google's Chrome OS and Apple's macOS (and more recently iOS).


The company was founded as Micro-Soft on April 4, 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen to develop a BASIC interpreter for the Altair 8800. Microsoft's current CEO is Satya Nadella, who succeeded Steve Ballmer in 2014.

Apple and Microsoft[]

Applesoft BASIC cassette from Microsoft

Applesoft BASIC, Microsoft's first project with Apple Computer.

Microsoft and Apple have long been partners and rivals in the industry and switched places as the world's most valuable publicly traded company on multiple occasions.[1]


Macintosh 1984 Promotional Video - with Bill Gates!

Microsoft's first project at Apple Computer was adapting its version of BASIC, which superseded Steve Wozniak's Integer BASIC to become Applesoft BASIC for the Apple II plus computer, which was released in April 1979. In 1983, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs invited Bill Gates to preview the pre-release development of the Macintosh. In 1984, Microsoft began development on Microsoft Word 1.0 for Macintosh, which was released in the following year.[2][3] After Jobs was forced out and Microsoft had released Windows 2.0 with a GUI that was similar to the Mac, Apple Computer, under CEO John Sculley, filed a federal lawsuit in 1988 against Microsoft.[2][4]

Despite the ongoing lawsuit, Apple and Microsoft announced a joint effort in September 1989 to develop alternative printing systems to Adobe Systems' PostScript, such as TrueType. The companies intended to incorporate TrueType into new imaging technologies, such as Apple's QuickDraw GX and Microsoft's TrueImage.[5][6] John Warnock, who was the CEO of Adobe at the time, distraughtly called it "the biggest bunch of garbage mumbo jumbo I've ever heard in my life".[7] Adobe responded by developing Adobe Type Manager to maintain the presence of its Type 1 fonts in the desktop computer market.[5] However, when Apple was financially struggling in 1996, Adobe teamed up with Microsoft to develop OpenType as a successor to TrueType.[8][9]

Investment in Apple[]


Macworld Boston 1997-The Microsoft Deal

After Steve Jobs returned to Apple, he negotiated an end to the lawsuits with Microsoft and agreed to cross-license technology between the two companies in exchange for Microsoft's commitment to continue developing software such as Microsoft Office for the Mac and an investment of $150 million in Apple non-voting shares (just under 5% of the company). Apple also agreed to include the Microsoft Internet Explorer web browser by default with future Mac OS releases for the next 5 years. Though the joint announcement by Jobs and Gates was met with shock at Macworld Expo Boston in 1997, the investment from Microsoft helped save Apple from bankruptcy.[2][10]

In 2002, after Apple had introduced the iPod, Microsoft, then under the leadership of Steve Ballmer, began selling its stake of 18.1 million shares of Apple stock. By 2003, all shares had been sold for $550 million, garnering a net profit of over 260% within 6 years. However, if Microsoft had held the shares until 2020, they would have been worth over $120 billion, representing a profit of over 85,000%.[10][11]

Macintosh Business Unit[]

The Macintosh Business Unit (MacBU) was established in 1997 to focus existing development teams on software for the resurgent Mac platform under Steve Jobs. In December 2002, Roz Ho was appointed as the general manager of the unit, which at the time was the largest Mac-development team outside of Apple Computer.[3][12]

Apple Platform Experiences[]

Around early 2014, the Macintosh Business Unit was reorganized into Apple Productivity Experiences (APEX) to reflect that Apple's mobile operating platforms (iOS, and later iPadOS) had grown to surpass the Mac.[13]

Microsoft Stores[]

Microsoft opened its own chain of Microsoft Stores in an effort to re-create the shopping experience and success of Apple's retail stores. However, after taking a pre-tax loss of $450 million during the COVID-19 pandemic, Microsoft announced on June 26, 2020 that it would shutter all but four of its retail stores permanently. The remaining flagship stores in London; New York City; Sydney, Australia and Redmond, Washington would be converted into "experience centers".[14][15]


  1. Microsoft eclipses Apple as largest U.S. company for first time in nearly 16 months by Emily Bary, MarketWatch. 2021-10-29.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Microsoft's relationship with Apple by Christoph Dernbach, Mac History. 2011-01-30. Archived 2012-02-16.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Macintosh Business Unit: 25 Years of Connecting Mac Users to Microsoft Productivity, Microsoft. 2009-01-06.
  4. Today in Apple history: Microsoft gets sued for ripping off Mac OS by Luke Dormehl, Cult of Mac. 2019-03-17.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Adobe-Apple war on Flash reminiscent of PostScript struggle by Daniel Eran Dilger, AppleInsider. 2010-05-14.
  6. Microsoft/Apple Deal Leaves Industry Reeling, InfoWorld p.1. 1989-09-25.
  7. War, InfoWorld p.101. 1989-09-25.
  8. Microsoft and Adobe Systems to Deliver Universal Font Format Brings Profit Alliance Model to Microsoft’s Small Business Web Site, Microsoft. 1996-05-06.
  9. Adobe Type: frequently asked questions, Adobe. Accessed 2019-12-10.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Nearly 20 Years Ago, Microsoft Sold Its Apple Stock for $550 Million--and Left $120 Billion on the Table by Jeff Haden, Inc. 2022-09-19.
  11. Microsoft once owned a chunk of Apple, here’s what it would have been worth today by Yaron Yitzhak, The Next Web. 2020-08-25
  12. Microsoft Appoints Seasoned Leader as Macintosh Business Unit General Manager, Microsoft. 2002-12-18.
  13. Review: Microsoft Word for iPad by Jeff Richardson, iPhone J.D. 2014-04-10.
  14. Microsoft Is Permanently Closing Its Retail Stores by Todd Haselton, NBC4 New York. 2020-06-26.
  15. Microsoft is closing all of its stores by Shannon Liao, CNN Business. 2020-06-26.

External links[]

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