Both Apple and Microsoft make a wide array of products. Differences are obvious. Apple is a hardware company. Microsoft is mostly a software company with little success in hardware. Wait! There’s more!
Focus Is As Focus Does
Apple focuses much effort on the user experience of the device– whether Mac, iPhone, or iPad, and Apple’s famed applications which work seamlessly with the hardware.
Microsoft takes a different approach, and most of the company’s revenue and profits come from two business lines– Windows and Office.
Focus. That’s the difference. One can argue that Microsoft focuses on milking the most profits possible from Windows and Office, and that’s true, but that’s all.
Microsoft has tried and failed at dozens of expensive, high profile projects in the past decade or so beyond the two cash cows. Nothing else brings in profits worth mentioning.
Not cloud services. Not Xbox. Not Bing. Not Surface. Not Windows Phone. Microsoft’s recent history is a string of dirt clods thrown against a wall in a vain effort to see what sticks.
Apple has a list of product failures, too (Apple III, Lisa, Mac portable, MessagePad, eWorld, Pippin, Copland, Mac clones, the original USB mouse, the PowerMac Cube, just to mention a few.
The hockey puck mouse and the Cube came early on Steve Jobs’ watch in the last century. Since then, what? MobileMe? Apple’s focus has become so intense that it has delivered in recent years a string if product hits on a monstrous scale.
Hardware? Or, Software?
Along the way, Apple has redefined itself as a hardware company, removing the stigma of the split personality of yesteryear. Apple creates software to sell hardware. That’s where the revenue and profits are derived.
On the other hand, Microsoft’s profits are software based and the company has yet to figure out how to create compelling hardware, then match it with compelling software, hence the company’s minuscule presence in the mobile device industry.
Over the past 15 years Apple has learned to focus efforts on a few products that are well integrated. Microsoft has tried and failed at many different and expensive projects. Those financial losses have been overshadowed by the riches of Windows and Office which have yet to be translated into mobile revenue and profit streams.
What about Microsoft’s ‘smart bra.’ Yes, Microsoft may beat Apple into wearable technology. With a little luck a smart bra will lose less money than Bing.