Mention Apple and Microsoft and the first images that come to mind are those of fierce, intense competition bordering on near hatred. Both companies have been instrumental in making technology so accessible that it is an almost routine part of our lives.
But ah, they have never been the greatest of friends. At least not in public perception. The Microsoft vs Apple battle is considered by many to be one of the most fierce in tech history. In fact, even the founders of the two companies, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, were at one time supposed to be close to bitter enemies, although they often (but not always) expressed admiration for each other in public. The battles were many: Mac OS vs Windows, Standard vs Proprietary, PC vs Mac…and they were bitterly divisive. Never was this Apple vs Microsoft war more evident than in the ad campaigns that the two companies came out with, often poking fun at each other, sometimes discreetly and sometimes directly.
And yet it was not always so. Microsoft, in fact, backed the Macintosh. Publicly.
Sounds difficult to believe? Well, let us give you some evidence. A promotional video for the Macintosh in 1984 has Gates praising the machine for about half a minute:
“It is a great machine. It is a step forward in terms of the way it uses graphics and speed…I was enthused. Microsoft does not work with new hardware very often, but we have put a team of people on it from the beginning. We are planning that over half of our retail sales next year will come from Macintosh software…”
You can see the video below.
But you know, we suspect the Apple vs Microsoft rivalry was already brewing at that stage. For, guess who does not feature in the promotional video at all (the link above is to a shortened version of the video but evidently this was the case in the complete video too).