updated 05:35 pm EDT, Thu June 14, 2007
Apple wins vs. Microsoft
While Microsoft and Google duke it out over alleged violations of trade commission policy, Apple is left free to nimbly establish leadership in certain areas of interest to all three companies, and steal away market share in others. Earlier this year, Microsoft complained that Google's purchase of DoubleClick was a possible anti-trust violation. Google responded by claiming that new search functionality built into Windows Vista unfairly hinders Google's ability to compete. While the two bicker, Apple has made tremendous forays into shared competitive space, delivering a version of the Safari Web browser for Windows and pushing its way into the living room, aided by the Apple TV and Google-owned YouTube.
Apple is being afforded greater latitude in its integration tactics than Microsoft ever was, building and shipping a Web browser, music player, and search bundled Mac OS X. Apple has also been free to offer Microsoft customers "a glass of ice water in hell" by offering iTunes, and now Safari, for Windows. A report in Forbes says "Apple can now do all sorts of things with its operating system that are off-limits for Microsoft. In January 2001, it introduced Apple iTunes, software for buying and managing multimedia content that is now baked into every Apple. In January 2003, it introduced a browser, dubbed Safari. In 2005, Apple released a version of its OS X operating system with a slick, built-in search feature dubbed Spotlight. 'They're the only company that actually forced Microsoft off of the operating system because of their integrated Safari browser,' says Rob Enderle, principal analyst at Enderle Group."
Microsoft has other detractors keeping it in check as well; Symantec and Adobe have both been proactively litigious in attempting to ensure that they do not suffer the same fate as Netscape, which was essentially destroyed by Microsoft's bundling of Internet Explorer with Windows.