Monday, December 3, 2007

Beautiful Harmony - Apple and Microsoft

The first application I ever bought for the Mac was Microsoft Word and it cost me $24 from MacWarehouse. My friends at Microsoft dispute that Word cost so little in those days but most Mac applications could be had for a 20 dollar bill. That's the truth ruth.

When I entered the world of Apple Mac consulting I quickly became a Apple/Microsoft expert. I taught courses in major accounting and law firms on how to use Microsoft enterprise software on a Mac and set up databases and networks. Together Apple and Microsoft radically invented an user interface that was graphical, used standard file formats and made computing easy for millions rather than complicated and code based command line computing for a few techno-geeks.

But it wasn't easy. First there was the ignorance of so many in the executive suits and mid-level management that really didn't even believe Microsoft applications ran on a Mac. Not only did they run on a Mac, they were invented on the Mac. Excel was written first and specifically for the Mac. Accounts can't believe this when you tell them.

Then, second, came the wholesale hostility between Apple and Microsoft. Yes, there were developers inside Microsoft who loved and emulated the Macintosh and used its interface as a foundation stone for working out there ideas, adding and subtracting, improving upon and not coming up to measure of the Mac GUI. But in particular divisions and among the leadership a Microsoft, Apple became the enemy and Steve Jobs often did and still does thumb his nose at the folks up in Redmond, Washington. Jobs main complaint is Microsoft has no taste.

For a time it was hard to be both a Microsoft and Apple lover without apology. But I do recall the days when every new product announcement, on either platform, was exciting and welcomed in the computing world as a sign of innovation. Apple would release new products and they would be insanely great. Microsoft would bring out their apps with incredible new features that further empowered the user and people thought -- go faster, bigger, and play harder. All within a tiny footprint of memory and RAM that by today's standards is almost unbelievable.

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