Are the Tables Turning for Microsoft Corporation and Apple Inc.?

The iEverything CEO wasted no time bashing its long-time rival at the annual development conference, but why?

Jun 6, 2014 at 11:16AM

Fans of either Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) or Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) are well aware of the longtime animosity between the two companies, and their respective founders. Former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates and his cohort Steve Jobs at Apple made no secret of their feelings toward the other. Over the years, some of the quotes attributed to each regarding the other have become the stuff of legend. For example, Gates once said of Jobs that he was, "fundamentally odd" and "weirdly flawed as a human being."

Not to be outdone, Jobs was quoted as saying his old rival would be, "a broader guy if he'd dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger." The mutual animosity certainly didn't change when Microsoft named Steve Ballmer CEO, and Apple subsequently tapped Tim Cook as its new chief. But with Satya Nadella taking over at Microsoft and implementing significant changes, the tide is beginning to turn.

Not your father's Microsoft
Ballmer took much of the blame for Microsoft's longtime slump, and rightfully so. The day last Aug. that Ballmer announced he would retire, Microsoft's stock shot up 7%. Clearly, investors were ready for a change, and they have it with new CEO Satya Nadella. After a mere four months at the helm, Microsoft has made huge strides in its transition to cloud, big data, and a devices and services company.

From its new Surface Pro 3 tablet hybrid, to alignments with longtime rivals to offer more comprehensive cloud and mobile solutions, Microsoft is well on its way to reinventing itself under Nadella's guidance. Can you imagine Ballmer sitting down with Cook to hammer out a deal to offer one of Microsoft's signature products, Office 365, to iPad users? Not a chance.

With the changes at Microsoft, particularly installing Nadella as head honcho, it's not likely you'll hear much negative Apple rhetoric coming out of Redmond, Washington anytime soon. That's not Nadella's style, nor does he have to: he knows Microsoft's results will speak for themselves, just like Apple's once did.

The new Apple?
When Nadella opened his first presentation as CEO with the announcement that Office was coming to Apple's iPad store, it was clear that things had irrevocably changed at Microsoft. And judging by the response -- there were 27 million downloads of Office for iPad within the first month and a half -- everyone was a winner.

The success of Office for iPad is what made Cook's statements in late April so intriguing. Though Cook grudgingly admitted that Office is, "a very key franchise," and he "wholeheartedly welcomes Microsoft to the app store," he couldn't resist taking a dig at Apple's old rival. Yes, Office is extremely popular, but should have been made available sooner, according to Cook. Not exactly a warm-hearted welcome.

The Office for iPad dig wasn't too bad, though it begs the question, why? However, the manner in which Cook opened Apple's recent developer's conference is even more baffling. Referencing the adoption of Apple's OSX Maverick operating system for Macs, Cook pointed to a chart showing the relatively slow adoption of Microsoft's Windows 8 OS, "joking" that iFanatics may "wonder how that [OSX adoption rates] compares to Windows? I knew someone was going to ask!"

It's strangely compelling that Apple, which sold more than 16 million iPads and nearly 44 million iPhones last quarter alone -- both numbers that dwarf comparable Microsoft results -- still feels the need to open its own iLovefest with negative Microsoft rhetoric.

Final Foolish thoughts
Don't expect a lot of Apple bashing from Nadella; not only is that not his style, he doesn't need to. The tide is turning, and Cook's continual negativity makes it clear he senses it, too. As for Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, iFans got a couple of redesigns and software updates. A new iPhone, iWatch, or iAnything? Nope, just some Microsoft bashing.

Leaked: Apple's next smart device (warning, it may shock you)
Apple recently recruited a secret-development "dream team" to guarantee its newest smart device was kept hidden from the public for as long as possible. But the secret is out, and some early viewers are claiming its everyday impact could trump the iPod, iPhone, and the iPad. In fact, ABI Research predicts 485 million of this type of device will be sold per year. But one small company makes Apple's gadget possible. And its stock price has nearly unlimited room to run for early-in-the-know investors. To be one of them, and see Apple's newest smart gizmo, just click here!


Tim Brugger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Money to your ears - A great FREE investing resource for you

The best way to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as “binge-worthy finance.”

Feb 1, 2016 at 5:03PM

Whether we're in the midst of earnings season or riding out the market's lulls, you want to know the best strategies for your money.

And you'll want to go beyond the hype of screaming TV personalities, fear-mongering ads, and "analysis" from people who might have your email address ... but no track record of success.

In short, you want a voice of reason you can count on.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich," rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

And one of the easiest, most enjoyable, most valuable ways to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as "binge-worthy finance."

Whether you make it part of your daily commute or you save up and listen to a handful of episodes for your 50-mile bike rides or long soaks in a bubble bath (or both!), the podcasts make sense of your money.

And unlike so many who want to make the subjects of personal finance and investing complicated and scary, our podcasts are clear, insightful, and (yes, it's true) fun.

Our free suite of podcasts

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. The show is also heard weekly on dozens of radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers are timeless, so it's worth going back to and listening from the very start; the other three are focused more on today's events, so listen to the most recent first.

All are available for free at

If you're looking for a friendly voice ... with great advice on how to make the most of your money ... from a business with a lengthy track record of success ... in clear, compelling language ... I encourage you to give a listen to our free podcasts.

Head to, give them a spin, and you can subscribe there (at iTunes, Stitcher, or our other partners) if you want to receive them regularly.

It's money to your ears.


Compare Brokers