Market Overview

Is Microsoft Infiltrating Apple's World?

Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) most popular products could soon be powered and/or enhanced by Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) software and technology.

This unlikely development stems from a dispute between Apple and Nokia (NYSE: NOK) in which the Finnish mobile phone maker accused its leading competitor of infringing on several different patents. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, these patents include touch user interfaces, signal noise suppression and on-device application stores (among other, more basic mobile technologies).

Now that the suit has finally been settled, Apple will pay Nokia an undisclosed sum of money now and continue to pay Nokia royalties in the future.

Thus, if Microsoft acquires Nokia's cell phone business (defying the current reports), Apple could ultimately become a licensee of Microsoft technology.

While this may not sound like much of an Earth-shattering development – after all, Apple and Microsoft already share some patents – the amusing part of the story is that this is not the first time Microsoft has threatened to infiltrate Apple's world.

Covert Operations

FaceTime is cool, but it is nowhere near the popularity of Skype, which Microsoft acquired last month for $8.5 billion. While the Windows maker could be stingy with the service and eventually prevent Mac users from taking advantage of it, Microsoft plans to continue making Skype for other platforms.

This is good news for Mac-toting consumers and business professionals who wish to use the service. This is also good for Skype's new owner, as there will soon be a Microsoft-branded product that Mac users will find it hard to live without.

Apple, however, does not have much to worry about at this point. No matter what happens, Microsoft is still Microsoft.

Learning From the Past

Why is it that two of Microsoft's most common file formats are more popular than the programs tied to them?

Whether using Pages or TextEdit, many Mac owners save their files as a Word document or as an RTF (rich text file) to ensure their compatibility with Microsoft Word. Perhaps Microsoft could learn a thing or two from this when designing its future products?

No, forget “perhaps” – the company should definitely learn from this.

Windows on a Mac

The ironic thing about Windows 7 is that the only Mac owners who care about using it are Windows lovers. And why would a Windows lover buy a Mac? Because they're more reliable machines, perhaps?

In any case, Microsoft has yet to show anything that makes Windows 8 look or sound any better than the current crop of operating systems. Technologically, the touch elements are nice, but I can live without them. And until the day comes when every laptop comes with a touch screen, most consumers are likely to feel the same way.

This does not bode well for Microsoft. Assuming that the company truly wants to invade Apple territory (and either win back consumers or convince Mac users to install Windows 8), Microsoft needs to implement several amazing features that consumers will be drawn to the minute they see them.

If Microsoft needs some inspiration, it should look no further than the initial iPhone commercials. They made everyone want Apple's groundbreaking device. Microsoft should not, however, create a campaign like the one designed to launch Windows Phone 7. That would be a disaster, and produce another automatic win for Apple.

Posted-In: Apple FaceTime Microsoft Microsoft Office Nokia Pages Skype TextEdit windows 7 Windows 8 Windows Phone 7 WordTech Best of Benzinga

 

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