As the world’s leading company in terms of value, as also the leader of many technological revolutions, Apple, of course, have many “nemeses”. And yet all three of these largest rivals are also close friends of the firm.
Android – “The wrecker”
It is obvious that Steve Jobs despised Android. The moment this operation system appeared, Apple’s founder had claimed that he “will spent all his last coins and breaths to destroy” this green robot. Yet, as Jobs passed away in 2011, Android had surpassed iPhone in market proportion, and till now, the total amount of Android smartphones sold on the market are 4 to 5 times that of iPhones.
Before the birth of Android, however, Steve Jobs used to have this especially close relationship with Google’s leaders. According to an investor, while seeking a CEO for Google during its first years, the 2 founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, even called Steve Jobs “an admirable hero”, and even offered him the position.
A previous Google employee even captured Steve hanging out with Larry Page and Eric Schmidt (CEO of Google for many years) for lunch. In fact, Eric Schmidt was even invited to join Apple’s management board. YouTube and Google Maps had also play important roles in the first generations of iPhone, and the Google CEO himself had appeared on stage as the first iPhone was introduced.
Android’s appearance, however, had sealed the end of this relationship. But this did not mean Apple and Google had become enemies the way Steve Jobs claimed. Every year, Google still pays Apple around 1 billion USD to keep the default searching system on Safari. Google also gave the cold shoulder to BB10 and Windows Phone, while still caring to bring all its applications and services to iOS. The two companies had even recently joined hands to find a solution for detecting contacts with Covid-19 patients.
At the end of the day, Google is still focusing on advertising, and sees no reason to not mingle with the hardware giant Google. The current CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, had recently been seen dining with Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google. It is clear that Google and Apple is still as close-knitted as ever, just more “secretive” than Steve Jobs and Eric Schmidt once were.
Microsoft and Apple: “Kiss and make up”
It is hard to recount the whole relationship between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates in just a few words. The first successful product from Microsoft is an extension module for the Apple II. Before starting the GUI revolution with Macintosh, Steve Jobs had also wanted to hire Microsoft to write the software for this operating system. Microsoft’s founder had also appeared at Apple’s Macintosh event, with high praises for Steve Jobs’ “new-born”. However, as Microsoft was founded and Macintosh dwindled, Steve Jobs was “kicked” from Apple, they slowly became enemies.
It was not until 1997, when the 150 million USD investment from Microsoft had “revived” Apple, that their relationship was mended. Once, Jobs had even quoted The Beatles on the friendship between him and Gates.
Upon Jobs’ passing and Microsoft’s utter failure in the smartphone war, however, this friendship had reached a new high never seen before. Microsoft’s CEO at the time, Satya Nadella, had even selected Office on iPad as his first public product. He had also made various appearances on Apple events to promote Microsoft software on Apple devices. Last year, the firm’s Minecraft Earth had been chosen to showcase the iPad’s AR feature.
Now, Microsoft had known its place as the “platform” giant for software and cloud. Such a role enables Microsoft to grow close to Apple – the leader in hardware of the present.
Apple and Samsung: A constant symbiosis
Much like Microsoft and Google, Samsung had made a rival out of Apple in a similar way: first acted as a partner in product development, and then introduced a direct competitor with the firm – on the first iPhone, the chip and camera were from Samsung.
In 2010, Samsung introduced its first Android smartphones. Only a year later – the same year as Steve Jobs’ death – Samsung’s total amount of smartphones sold had surpassed that of Apple. Another year and the Korean company had also overcome Nokia – the world’s leader in mobile market at the time, and had since retained its leading position. This was followed by the patent lawsuit between Apple and Samsung, then the focus of the entire tech world.
And yet even during those worse moments, the “crown prince” of Samsung, also the CEO, Jay Y. Lee, still attended Steve Jobs’ funeral, alongside Bill Gates and other teach leaders. According to various sources, Lee and Jobs had grown close as they assemble iPhone prototypes together in the beginning of Apple and Samsung’s partnership.
This supplier relationship continues even today. In fact, Samsung had many times been chosen as assembly partner for Apple’s chips in iPhone and iPad. Samsung’s RAMs had also made various appearances on Mac devices, and Samsung is still the only supplier to have met Apple’s OLED quality criteria.
Once again, there is still only one road from “nemesis” back to “friend”: along side competing areas, Samsung still hold a critical business market that can benefit both sides (component parts). In fact, Samsung’s total revenue from selling screens to Apple may even surpass that of the firm’s Galaxy smartphones.
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