Microsoft and Apple have long been rivals in the computers, software and consumer electronics markets. Microsoft won the Personal Computers round, but then Apple won the MP3 player round and it looked like Apple was going to take the gold in the Smartphone round as well even though Microsoft had been there for a long time. But underdog Android from Google is currently running the show when it comes to smartphone operating systems. However, Microsoft and Apple don’t think that Google is playing fair.
Both Microsoft and Apple have been successfully suing or acquiring licensing agreements from Android device manufacturers for violating intellectual property that they both own. It’s actually been very lucrative for Microsoft who made about $800M from Android royalties in Q2 of 2012. Spending that on marketing Windows Phone 8 should be fun. Apple is also not happy about Android’s patent infringement, but their lawyers are more interested in banning the products than selling licenses.
Still, Microsoft and Apple have not being suing each other at all lately. Earlier last week an Apple executive revealed that Apple and Microsoft actually have a few rules about competing with each other. As ReadWriteWeb reports, Microsoft is contractually prevented from mimicking the iPhone. Boris Teksler said last week that he could “count on one hand” the number of times Apple had licensed its design patents. One of those companies was Microsoft.
There’s a catch though and that is the requirement that Microsoft cannot “clone” the iPhone design. They can use certain aspects that Apple has patented, but not the whole look. That’s one of the reasons you see Windows Phone as such a drastically different, and frankly innovative, user experience. Microsoft was kind of forced to “Think Different”.
We don’t know if Microsoft paid cash for Apple’s patent licenses, but they could certainly have made a deal that allows Apple to license some of Microsoft’s patents. It’s kind of as if Microsoft and Apple may have decided to help eachother compete with eachother… and maybe even help eachother compete with Google. Apple has made it a little easier for Microsoft to compete with Apple and Google while Microsoft may have made it a little easier for Apple to compete with Microsoft and Google as well.
Are Microsoft and Apple just trying to give eachother some healthy competition or could they be teaming up against Android? Let us know what you think in the comments.
Picture via: Buena La Vista