12 years ago today, Steve Jobs delivered a keynote in Boston where he announced a number of new initiatives with its ole’ rival Microsoft and an end to the legal battle over Apple’s allegations that Microsoft illegally copied the “look and feel” of the Mac OS.
In the video below, a non-turtleneck clad Jobs announced that Microsoft and Apple had reached a cross licensing agreement whereby each would be free to license each others existing patents and any future patents filed for the next 5 years. In addition, Jobs noted that Apple would make Internet Explorer the default browser on the Mac (which resulted in a hilarious round of “boos” from the audience), and in return, Microsoft would pledge to release versions of Microsoft Office for the Mac for the next 5 years, and that it would also purchase $150 million in Apple Stock and not sell it for at least 3 years.
What’s amusing about the video below is just how anti-Microsoft the crowd is, and it really takes you back to a time when hatred for Microsoft was a lot more common amongst Apple fans than it is today. About 4:45 seconds into the video, Bill Gates appears via satellite to discuss Microsoft’s new initiatives with Apple and the crowd reacts as if they’ve seen the devil himself. Man, what a time to be a Mac fan!
Soon thereafter, Jobs said what can arguably be probably be classified as one of the most salient and important statements in Apple’s history.
And if we want to move forward and see Apple healthy and prospering again, we have to let go a few things, here. We have to let go of this notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose. We have to embrace the notion that for Apple to win, Apple has to do a really good job… the era of setting this up as a competition between Apple and Microsoft is over as far as I’m concerned.
For anyone too young to remember, the anti-Microsoft sentiment in the 90’s was palpable for Apple fans, and for many, their love of Apple was only rivaled by their hatred for all things Microsoft. Steve Jobs was keenly aware that Apple couldn’t keep on chasing Microsoft Windows forever. He correctly pointed out that Microsoft had already won the OS wars. And with that mindset, Jobs helped steer Apple into new directions over the next few years as he oversaw development of the iMac, iPod, and eventually the iPhone.