Micrapple: No, Microsoft and Apple aren’t Merging

| Analysis

Get ready for Applesoft, or maybe Micrapple, because one analyst thinks tech giants Apple and Microsoft will merge. Keith Fitz-Gerald from Money Map Press said the rivals will team up to compete with Google and its Android platform as well as Facebook, and they'll do it within five to ten years. Guess what? He's wrong.

Think Microsoft and Apple will merge? Think again.Think Microsoft and Apple will merge? Think again.

Mr. Fitz-Gerald said Apple and Microsoft will start by collaborating to ward off the threat of Google and Facebook before merging into a single company. He called his theory an "unthinkable but absolutely possible deal," according to Times of India.

Micrapple Fighting Off Google
The notion that Apple and Microsoft could merge into a single company seems beyond far fetched, but since Mr. Fitz-Gerald is so sure it could happen, let's take a look at what's involved.

Apple and Microsoft both have popular operating systems. For Apple, it's big name OS right now is iOS for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Microsoft's is Windows, and in its various flavors it runs on desktop and laptop computers, tablets, and smartphones. The operating systems compete directly in the mobile space, and Apple's iPad is even eating into Windows PC sales. Reconciling the bread and butter money makers for both companies, especially since they are competitors, will be a tough prospect.

The deal would require some serious compromise. Someone's operating system would have to go, and considering how big the Windows marketshare is, it's easy to see Microsoft pushing for the end of OS X. Give Microsoft the desktop, and let Apple have mobile.

Killing off OS X wouldn't be as simple as just stopping production and giving out some Windows license keys. Apple has been focused on building its ecosystem, and that includes the Mac and OS X. Without OS X, there isn't any platform for developing iOS apps -- that's all done in Apple's Xcode, which is only available for the Mac -- and the company's push into the ebook market includes iBooks Author, which is also a Mac-only product.

Microsoft is all about Windows everywhere, and Apple is all about building its enclosed Mac and iOS ecosystem. Those philosophies will be very difficult to reconcile, even with the threat of Google in the shadows.

Apple and Microsoft tend to buy companies for features and services they can roll into their own products. The idea of merging with another company doesn't fit either of their styles. What's more likely than a merger is that both will continue to strategically purchase smaller companies that offer products, services and talent that give them a competitive edge.

We're already seeing that play out. Apple, for example, has bought up companies that can help improve its mapping and navigation services, and Microsoft struck a deal with Yahoo! to improve its position in the online search market.

Facing Off with Facebook
Facebook is a massive data collection machine, as is Google. For Microsoft, this is a market it's trying to compete in, but not so much for Apple. In fact, Apple has openly stated it isn't in business to collect user data.

For both Facebook and Google, end users are the product because the data the companies collect from us is then used to generate revenue through advertising sales. Microsoft is in the same boat, but to a lesser degree. Apple, however, isn't going there, which makes a merger with Microsoft less enticing for both companies.

What's more likely is Microsoft and Yahoo! working even closer than they already are, and maybe that could lead to a merger at some point. Microsoft already tried a hostile takeover of Yahoo!, but since then the two have been teaming up in the Internet search market.

Assuming that proves to be a long term win for both, they could eventually agree to a Microsoft buyout that doesn't include boardroom drama. Considering Microsoft is already getting what it wants from Yahoo! without having to shell out money to buy the company, there may not be much incentive to revisit a buyout offer.

Don't Hold Your Breath for Micrapple
Mr. Fitz-Gerald's Money Map Press bio says he has an accurate track record for predictions as well as decades of experience as a market analyst. That may be, but this time he's wrong.

Apple and Microsoft have very different philosophies and strategies in the tech market, and neither is in the merger game. The two may collaborate at times to better compete against mutual adversaries, but that doesn't make them good candidates for a merger; not now, and not in five or ten years.

No, Micrapple isn't coming. But Microhoo? That's a possibility.

Sign Up for the Newsletter

Join the TMO Express Daily Newsletter to get the latest Mac headlines in your e-mail every weekday.

Comments

Jamie

I think the implication here is that a merger is the only way either company can avoid being crushed by the JUGGERNAUT THAT IS ANDROID AND FACEBOOK. The premise itself is so faulty and for such a variety of complex reasons, the conclusion isn’t worth dissecting. Seems like just another hit-piece to me. Different day, same old anal-izing.

geoduck

Not merging but I could see a day when Apple is big enough and Microsoft has fallen far enough that Apple might BUY them (OK maybe it’s just a pipe dream). Take over Microsoft, use the few assets that are worth something, and liquidate the rest. No it doesn’t make business sense, but it would be satisfying for some of us.

Micrapple? How about AppleSoft, or maybe just call it Strange Fruit.

KitsuneStudios

I can’t see a Microsoft/Apple merger getting FTC approval anytime soon. Windows still commands 90% of the PC market, and merging with Apple would kick that to 95%.

UrbanBard

The author simply does not understand mobile technology. He thinks that Android is a threat to iOS. The only way he can think this is that he doesn’t know how badly Android is fragment into four or five incompatible versions. The percentage of Android phones which actually compete directly with the iPhone is tiny. Most Android phones are little better than feature phones.

skipaq

My good laugh for the day.

marcsten

Well I think he’s probably wrong too, but I find it more appealing and intriguing than most readers, I think. Here’s why. Look at when other major competitors have merged in teh past. Often what happens is that both companies continue to make their repective products until over a period of years, there is a combining of production and ideas into a single product. I think its simplistic to say Apple gets mobile and MS gets desktop. Why couldn’t they work together to create a more window-esq widely used version of a desktop system - call it Windows-X? It could be based on more open source code liek OS X? And specifically built in compliance with products from companies like Adobe relieving those third party producers of having to make two versions. Same for the mobile system.
Aww, they’d probabnly screw it up…

John Dingler, artist

Hi Jeff,
Keith Fitz-Gerald’s limited understanding focused on the superficial, that Apple and MS were “closed” and the others were
open,” thus at least one of the two camps must protect itself from oblivion by combining forces. Your concise argument against it is that “synergy” does not exist, making KFG sound foolish.

Hi Geoduck,
Your harsh analysis makes me feel all optimistic, so I will pile in. MS has done well for itself to put a brake on computer technology while short changing the user. This was MS’s original sin. Just as Gates is attempting to expiate it, belatedly, by giving it away, even if only a smidgeon, so MS should close down all of its gains made from its myriad of thefts, and once again return to its roots: A loyal developer of Apple software.

UrbanBard

Your comment, superficially, makes sense, marcsten, but it is a chimera. Only your ignorance of computer fundamentals allow you to contemplate a merger. Apple and Microsoft’s production and ideas cannot be combined. What does MS have to contribute?

Windows OS is a technical disaster. It is not clear how much longer MS, at enormous expense in R&D, can keep it’s obsolete stand-alone disk operating system standing. Windows OS cannot be fixed. There is no possibility of jacking it up and sliding an object oriented OS underneath. Security cannot be added after the fact. What we are likely to see is increasing numbers of crises in Windows which scare people away. But, this process might take decades. The only question is whether Windows users run to Apple or to some form of Linux.

OS X is already compatible with the Enterprise, but what it doesn’t have is the Enterprise applications which were developed over decades. But mostly, it is inertia which prevents change. Events will occur to savage that inertia.

Meanwhile, Apple is making an end run around the desktop with it’s iOS and the Cloud. In time, the hardware will get powerful enough that an iOS app will be able to do what is done by Windows Apps now. So, the Windows OS will fade away.  Apple need spend no money except to put Windows out of it’s misery. Why should it?

ibuck

The cultures of Apple & MS are vastly different. Since Forstall’s departure, Cook appears successful getting divisions to cooperate strongly. And in MS culture, divisions compete strongly. Merging would be more troublesome than what awaits a new MS CEO. When suggested as new CEO for MS, Jean-Lois Gassee tweeted:  “Too old, too happy, don’t deserve such punishment grin

d'monder

It’d be more disastrous than the Daimler-Chrysler merger attempt.

After nearly 14 years of Ballmer, NO sane executive should consider anything with Microsoft.

Winski

Not in ALL of our collective lifetimes.

greatgazoo192

If you’re going to dream, dream big… How about Win-tel-Tosh, App-Micro-tel or App-Int-Office?  Think about it, Apple hardware and operating systems coupled with direct control of the office suite and having a serious in-house fab operation to build the Apple line of processors and any support chips deemed critical to future products.  Microsoft is floundering lately, but there is also more than a little indication that Intel stayed marching down the x86 path way too long with a feeling of invulnerability and is now losing the future to ARM licensees like Apple and Samsung.

MacWorks

Fakety fake fake fake

Log-in to comment