Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has been a "friendly" rival to Apple Inc. (AAPL) for most of the last three decades. The two were in a competition in the laptop and desktop arenas for most of the first 10-15 years of their existence, especially in the enterprise realm. While Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) seems to be taking on some of the same business model that has boosted Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) into a dominant brand in mobile devices, Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) did ultimately win the PC and laptop battle after Apple took the lead.
Is this happening again? Is Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) the hare and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) the tortoise when it comes to mobile compuing, where Redmond will end up beating Cupertino in the long run? According to one blogger, the answer is yes, and he's buying in.
What would motivate him to make such a claim, when Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is barely on the radar in mobile - though it is looking to open up some share now that Windows 8 is in the market - and Apple Inc. (AAPL) is at the front of the mobile marketplace with its software and second to Samsung in hardware (though Apple might contest that claim, what with its ongoing patent litigation)? This blogger thinks it has to do with the ecosystem idea.
You see, he thinks that Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) won the PC war by having an open system where Windows can be used on various computer hardware - meeting the various price points in the market, and be deliberate to make sure it gets its new products "right," with few investments in major updates. Meanwhile, Apple Inc. (AAPL) has been hard-pressed to be proprietary in its entire system with both hardware and software, and the desire to be cutting-edge on hardware pushes Apple to invest in new devices virtually every year.
But the challenge for Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) will be to get started in the mobile race. It produced a tablet computer years before the iPad, but it it a few years behind in the market with Windows 8 and the correlated smartphone OS. With Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) currently dominating the smartphone and tablet space, is here room for Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) to get into the race, never mind be the winner of this marathon? Will investors like billionaire fund manager Seth Klarman of Baupost Group see this company like this blogger does? Perhaps only time - perhaps years - will tell.