Three largest confrontations between companies in the history of IT

Three largest confrontations between companies in the history of IT

History is full of famous confrontations – Ford versus Ferrari, Coca-Cola versus Pepsi, Edison versus Tesla. And, of course, it was not without them in the history of IT, which already has fifty years.

Some of these confrontations ended with the disappearance of one of the parties, while the other part allowed, on the contrary, to significantly advance the technology forward. And today we will talk about three major confrontations between IT giants, which, among other things, created the technological world exactly as we see it now.

Intel vs AMD – how friendship turned into enmity

Interestingly, many consider AMD to be a fairly young company. However, in reality this is not the case: like Intel, the “red” processor manufacturer was founded in the late 60s in the United States.

And at first, the relationship between them was purely partnership: in those days, IBM computers were at their peak, but this tech giant did not want only one chipmaker to produce processors for its devices – this was quite dangerous for business.

Therefore, in 1976, Intel entered into a cross-licensing agreement with AMD, and in 1982 it was strengthened by a technology exchange decision. With these securities AMD was able to access and produce full clones of Intel 286, which allowed the company to gain a foothold in the market.

But, of course, such friendships could not last long. Already in the mid-80s, Intel refused to provide AMD with blueprints for a new processor, the 80386. In response, AMD in 1987 accused the competitor of monopoly and violation of an agreement signed five years earlier. So the years of legal battles began.

Three largest confrontations between companies in the history of IT
386th processor developed by AMD. It was usually fully compatible with Intel 386 boards, but was cheaper and sometimes even faster.

As we know, states do not like monopolists, and in 1995 Intel was forced to sit down at the negotiating table with AMD and admit defeat. The “red” chipmaker received a perpetual license for the microcode of the 80386 and 80486 processors, and Intel later received a $ 1.4 billion fine from the European Union for anti-competitive practices against AMD.

Although, I must say, AMD’s victory was a Pyrrhic one: in the mid-90s, when Intel had already shown to the public its innovative Pentium processors, the 486 and even more so 386 CPUs were already leaving the market. Therefore, AMD still had to develop its Athlon processors, which made it the leader by the beginning of the 2000s.

And since then there has been a technological confrontation between AMD and Intel: for example, in the mid-2000s, the latter responded to Athlon solutions with its Core line, which is even now used in office PCs. In the late 2000s and early 2010s, AMD introduced the 6-core Phenom and then the 8-core FX, prompting Intel to develop the Core i processors that would give it the lead for the next 7 years.

Well, everyone probably already knows the latest history: 4 years ago, AMD introduced breakthrough Ryzen processors, thereby forcing Intel to increase the number of cores, but the “blue” chipmaker is still catching up, although this may change this fall with the release of 12 2nd generation Core i (Alder Lake).

Three largest confrontations between companies in the history of IT
Whatever one may say, but 16 cores are faster than 10. At times, more than one and a half times.

And this is a good example of opposition, when one company literally forces another to seek innovative solutions in order to at least maintain their market share – and in the end, ordinary users benefit from this, getting cool products at a low price. But it all started with the fact that Intel literally raised a competitor for itself with its own hands, and it is far from the fact that we would even switch to 2-core CPUs, if there were no AMD now.

Apple vs Microsoft – a bad world is better than a good fight

This is another example of cooperation that led to enmity, and was replaced by … cooperation again. So, in the early 80s, Microsoft developed software for the popular Apple II computer. Bill Gates even joked that there are more people working on the Mac at Microsoft than Steve Jobs.

But, of course, this idyll could not last forever, and the relationship quickly ended after Jobs accused Gates of copying the Macintosh interface on his graphical Windows. The answer from the head of Microsoft to this was simply a masterpiece:

Well, Steve, I think you can look at it from different angles. I think it sounds more like we both had a wealthy neighbor named Xerox. I broke into his house to steal the TV and found that you had already stolen it before me.

There really was a grain of truth in this, since the first graphical user interface for a home PC was developed at the Xerox PARC research center, and Apple (and not only it) “spied” on these developments.

Three largest confrontations between companies in the history of IT
Xerox Alto computer and its graphical interface.

Of course, after such a relationship between the companies was more than cool – but at least they were, albeit forcedly: for example, Apple depended on Microsoft, since the latter created an office suite for the Mac, so the Cupertino tech giant had to transfer part of the code of its OS to a competitor.

Relations between the companies began to heat up in 1997. Things were not going well for Apple then, and it was decided to bring Jobs back along with his new brainchild NeXT. And during the Macworld Expo that same year, Steve announced that Apple had signed a 5-year contract with Microsoft that would continue to develop Internet Explorer and Office for the Mac. In addition, Microsoft invested $ 150 million in its competitor, thereby partially saving Apple from bankruptcy.

Since then, the cooperation between the companies has only continued to develop: for example, in the mid-2000s, when Apple switched its Macs to Intel processors, the company, together with Mirosoft, developed Boot Camp – the ability to install full-fledged Windows on their computers. And this feature is still available on all Macs with Intel processors. Moreover, Apple is not opposed to implementing it on Macs with ARM-processors – it all depends only on Microsoft and the official release of Windows on ARM.

Also, not everyone knows, but for a while Siri performed searches … through Microsoft Bing. Moreover, at one of Apple’s presentations, Microsoft representatives took the stage and showed an iPad-optimized Office suite.

Three largest confrontations between companies in the history of IT
Yes, this is a Microsoft spokesperson talking about Office for iPad at Apple’s presentation.

As a result, we can say that the companies have overcome the period of hostility and are now in a “bad world”. Yes, they do not stop teasing each other: for example, Microsoft in a recent video series claimed that its Surface is much better than the MacBook. But there is no obvious confrontation between them. Moreover, Apple CEO Tim Cook is in favor of further cooperation, saying that he is “not a supporter of recalling past grievances.”

Google vs Apple – the fight continues

Here is another example of a confrontation that does not even think to end, although it has calmed down a little lately. It all began in 2010, when HTC introduced one of its Android smartphones, which implemented popular iPhone features. Jobs, of course, did not like this very much. Very very. He threatened to spend “every penny of Apple’s $ 40 billion in the bank” and “start a thermonuclear war” to destroy Android, which he considered a “stolen product.”

Although, as usual, everything began quite peacefully and amicably: for example, the iPhone presented in 2007 was preinstalled out of the box with Google search, Google maps and YouTube. However, the relationship between the companies from that moment began to deteriorate quickly enough, and the fault is the startup Android Inc., which Google bought two years earlier.

Three largest confrontations between companies in the history of IT
The first Android smartphone from HTC.

What’s more, then-Google CEO Eric Schmidt was on Apple’s board of directors, and war was “declared” after he retired in 2009. Thus began a series of lawsuits: Apple sued HTC, Samsung and Motorola. Moreover, Jobs did not want to make concessions. In 2010, he told Schmidt: “I don’t need your money. Even if you offer $ 5 billion, I will not accept it. I have a lot of money. I want you to stop using our ideas in Android, nothing else. ”

The “bottom” of the relationship came in 2012, when Apple removed the YouTube app and Google Maps from iOS 6, replacing them with its own service. Although from this, of course, Apple itself suffered more: their cards were so raw that their boss Scott Forstall left the company.

With Jobs’ death, relations between tech giants began to improve, but they are still difficult to call them friendly. Companies continue to steal ideas from each other with each new iOS or Android release. Google pays Apple billions of dollars annually to use its default search engine on iPhone and iPad. Apple gets a share of Google ads on its devices.

But on the other hand, both Google Maps and YouTube are back on iOS. And Apple, in turn, released the Music app for Android, and also wanted to release iMessage. So the relationship between Apple and Google can be called a “good fight” – perhaps in the future they will get better. But even from their current state, users of both Android and iOS again benefit, receiving new features every year, and absolutely free of charge.


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