Apple and Microsoft are two major competitors in the technological industry. The two technological giants were started between 1975 and 1976. Apple was founded in 1975 by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak whereas Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft in 1976 (Stewens & Sponland, 2010). Even though the two companies operate in similar product lines and offer substitute products with each other, they exhibit several differences in terms of product features, marketing strategies, and management styles, among others.
One of the similarities shared in common with these companies is their years of establishment. Stewans et al. (2010) documents that Microsoft and Apple started almost at the same period. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak responsible for founding Apple in 1975 and Microsoft was established in 1976 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen. The founders of both companies are open-minded geniuses with exemplary entrepreneurial skills and are among the most influential personalities globally in the technology industry.
Both companies are dominant in the Smartphones technology market. Microsoft is known for the manufacture of windows phones, and Apple is credited for the production of the Iphones. Smartphones, Windows phones, and Iphones have similar features like widescreen, touchscreen and they support internet communication (Stewans et al., 2010).
Both companies have not ignored tablet devices industry. Microsoft's tablet is known as Surface whereas Apple produces Ipad. Both Surface and Ipad have a touch screen with the same thickness. Microsoft introduced Surface as a response to Apple's Ipad which was dominating the market (Noga, 2016).This shows that each company has a huge interest in the manufacture of tablets and other related products.
Another similarity shared by the companies is the development of retail stores that are used to advertise and sell their products. Both stores are branded with Microsoft branding their store with the window phone brands and Apple branding theirs with the ITunes brands. All of their stores are stocked with their respective applications, and the setup is the same. The stores are equipped with professionals who offer technical training direction and software support to their customers (Noga, 2016).
Despite carrying out their operations in the same market of computers and technology and offer almost similar products and services, there exist some differences between them ranging from how they operate to their distinct products and services.
Microsoft's core business is the development of operating systems for Windows PC. The company got its fast entrance into the operating system development market when it was contracted by IBM to develop operating systems for its PCs. Microsoft focused on developing and licensing is software with IBM compatible manufacturers and make an open IBM PC system that could be copied and duplicated by producers (Stewens et al., 2010). This strategy helped Microsoft to gain a dominant share of the market and propel its future growth. Stewens et al., (2010), contrasts the mentioned aspect with Apple when he documents that Apple had a heavy reliance on its own proprietary design that can only be used by Apple products. Apple's operating system and application are produced and pre-installed in only Apple products, and therefore Apple customers can receive complete solutions. This aspect makes Apple product favorable to many, and for that reason, the company can charge premium prices.
Microsoft reported 4% growth in its overall earnings and its revenue increased in the last three months of 2016. The increase in revenue has been linked to the shift of software business from office to cloud. The company witnessed 93% increase in sales from its Azure cloud computing business and 8% increase from the intelligent category that includes Azure business to $6 billion. The company also generated $7.4 billion worth of revenue from the Microsoft Office business representing a rise of 10% (Wingfield, 2016). While Microsoft was reporting an increase in revenue, Apple was reporting a decline in revenue in 2016. Goel (2016) notes that Apples hardware business posted a decline of revenues in the months between April and June 2016 as compared to the same period in the previous year. This trend was also the same in last three-quarters preceding the period mentioned above.
Microsofts core business is the development of operating systems, it emphasizes on PC operating systems and office suite markets and some desktop and servers software. The company also manufactures several other software such as Bing that is used in internet search, Xbox and Xbox 360 consoles that are an important ingredient in the video gaming industry. Others include the MSN that is critical in the digital service market and windows phone OS that is an essential element in mobile phones (Sena & Olsen, 2013).On the other hand, Apple leans towards the hardware. The company focuses mostly on manufacturing items like Iphones, Ipads, and the most recently, watches. The company also offers its customers services such as app store purchases, Apple music subscriptions, cloud storage and iTunes for music download and storage (Goel 2016).
Apple and Microsoft revolutionized how people live, work and do business through their innovations and visionary leadership leaders. Their similarities and differences are as a result of each company seeking to remain dominant and compete in the ever-changing market and also meet the expectations of their customers.
Goel, V. (2016, July 26). Apple's iPhone Sales Drop Again, but Services Are a Bright Spot. New York Times [New York]
Noga, G. (2016). Apple and Microsoft Century Visit. A Business journal, 18(2016), 20-56.
Schimmer, M., Stewens, G., &Sponland, P. (2010).The Battle between Apple Microsoft and Google.Strategic Lessons from Converging internet Industry 2000-2010, 3102451, 1-37. Retrieved from http://www.ifb.unisg.ch
Sena, J., & Olsen, E. (2013). Microsoft vs Apple: Which is Great by Choice? Orfalea College of Business, California Polytechnic State University ,6, 1-16. Retrieved from http://proc.conisar.org
Wingfield, N. (2017, January 26). Microsoft Profit Rises 4 Percent, as Cloud Business Booms. New York Times [New York].
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