Actor John Hodgman made a virtual appearance in a dorky, ill-fitting suit in front of a white backdrop in November to promote Apple’s relaunch of the Mac. He then imitated the catchphrase from the retro chic Mac vs. nerdy PC TV advertisements of a decade ago, “Stop, hang on, wait, one more thing, hi, I’m a PC,” to make the point that he was a PC.
The event was organised to inform Apple product devotees that the next Macs would include a more powerful processor. The implication, though, was not lost on anyone: Apple Inc.’s longstanding battle with Microsoft Corp.
The Two Businesses had been Working Together For Some Time Now.
Apple invited Microsoft to attend an iPad and iPhone debut, and Microsoft’s Office and other apps soon followed. Microsoft made its products compatible with the Apple Pencil and the Magic Keyboard, and Apple just made it easier to utilise Xbox game controllers on Apple devices. Apple even made its TV app available for Xbox last October.
However, around the time the PC character made a comeback, Microsoft began badmouthing Apple to regulators, claiming that Apple’s App Store was anti-competitive. The Redmond, Washington software titan had sided with Epic Games in its lawsuit against Apple, which accused the iPhone maker of monopolistic behaviour for removing the Fornite game from the App Store. The trial, now in its second week, has seen a Microsoft executive testify against Apple, claiming that Apple’s strict management of its App Store had harmed Microsoft’s own gaming efforts.
Neither Apple nor Microsoft is willing to back down until they have a stranglehold on the future of computing, and that includes everything from AI and cloud computing to video games, tablets, bespoke chips, and mixed-reality headsets.
Tensions Between Apple And Microsoft Began to Rise Again
About a year ago, tensions between Apple and Microsoft began to rise again. To cater to the growing cloud gaming market, Microsoft released xCloud, a service optimised for use on iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad. For a monthly charge, Microsoft would host dozens of games in the cloud, accessible via a single app. Xbox, one of the most well-known names in the gaming industry, was meant to back the service and help it do for gaming what Netflix achieved for film, making Apple devices a more formidable gaming platform.
Since Microsoft was unable to convince Apple to change its policy prohibiting unified gaming services from being sold through the App Store, the service was never released in its original form. Microsoft had initially been prohibited from releasing any cloud-based gaming products. However, Apple changed the rules amid public outcry over the ban on streaming apps.
Even while Microsoft can now introduce a cloud gaming service, users will have to download individual games, undermining the idea of a unified offering. Microsoft is now making the service available on Apple devices through the Web, which is a far cry from the native app experience users have come to expect.
Microsoft has recently started advertising its Surface hybrid tablet and laptops against Apple’s iPad Pro and MacBook Pro. Hodgman, who plays PC in Apple commercials, may soon hear from his agency.