I always doubted whether Microsoft and Apple are the fiercest rivals??To me,the answer is no.I feel the rivalry is all about innovation Vs plagiarism and nothing more.The press and blogosphere adds fuel to the actual facts.For example,Apple recently released safari browser for windows and many people started hype around it.Look at browser market, both IE7,Firefox doing excellent job already.I don't know what safari can do??I would like to give brief analysis why Microsoft and Apple are different companies.
- Both are software companies but Apple have serious hardware business too.Microsoft markets Xbox,Zune etc. but its primary bread and butter is software.
- Second thing is Microsoft is majorly an Enterprise company and Apple is a Consumer company.Apple is not much trying to be an Enterprise company.Both companies almost shed PC company image.
- Both are platform companies but Microsoft is a serious player in application market too.Apple doesn't have much presence in application market except creative market.Apple neither competes with MS Office nor with Google apps.
- Microsoft competes in many markets like Enterprise(Oracle,SAP,IBM),Online(Yahoo,Google,Salesforce etc.),Entertainment (Sony,Nintendo, etc.) and of course Linux.Apple never had to fight in multiple markets like Microsoft.It picks up its battles carefully.But Microsoft enters wherever it sees money with its give it three times approach.Apple also doesn't have data centers like Microsoft,Google.
- What if Microsoft's Zune a flop?Microsoft doesn't care much.But for Apple, iPod is a serious business.For Microsoft,Gaming is a serious business and Apple doesn't have clue in gaming market.Coincidentally back in 2001,both started with different visions in consumer market .Apple started with Music and Microsoft started with Gaming.But at the end of the day Microsoft depends heavily on platform(Windows plus Server) and application(Office and Enterprise) market.
- Microsoft's Eco-system is far bigger than Apple's.Microsoft depends heavily on Partners but Apple is kind of vertical company and competes in niche market.
- Many people thinking that iPhone would take out market share from windows mobile devices.But if you look at closely, Windows mobile devices competing in Enterprise mobility and iPhone is a music phone.MS office won't run on iPhone.
Well,i can conclude both are far different companies in many senses and both are good for industry for many reasons.After all Microsoft is the biggest Mac software developer out side Apple.They are rivals but certainly not the fiercest as most of us think.They are friendly rivals.