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Apple and Microsoft: 10 moments of truce

The two companies are considered the arch-rivals of the technology world, but there have been numerous instances of co-operation between the pair
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1 of 11 Joi Ito

Microsoft vs Apple

Microsoft vs Apple has long been the marquee rivalry of the technology industry, but the two companies also have a long history as 'frenemies'. Here are their 10 greatest collaborations.

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2 of 11 Microsoft

Microsoft launches Outlook for Mac in Office 2011

10. Microsoft launches Outlook for Mac in Office 2011

With Office for Mac 2011, released on 26 October, 2010, Microsoft once again made the Mac OS X version of its world-dominant productivity suite harmonise more closely with the latest Windows version, after several Mac editions that diverged wildly from their Windows counterparts.

By far the most significant part of Office 2011 is that it brings back a version of Microsoft Outlook for email and Exchange syncing, replacing the Mac-specific Entourage. This makes the latest Macs much better equipped to function in the business world.

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3 of 11 ZDNet.com

Apple and Microsoft spurn Blu-ray for digital downloads

9. Apple and Microsoft spurn Blu-ray for digital downloads

Both Apple and Microsoft have been under pressure for the last couple of years to jump on the Blu-ray bandwagon. Microsoft has been pressured to put Blu-ray in Xbox 360 and Apple has pressured to add Blu-ray drives to its Macs. However, both have resisted and have given the same reason for doing so — Blu-ray is an expensive temporary solution and the future of high-definition video lies in digital downloads.

While they may not have consulted each other on this issue, the fact that each company has taken up the same position has made it easier for the other to stick to it. It's also kept the film industry from forcing consumers to buy more discs rather than offering the cheaper and more convenient option of digital downloads.

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4 of 11 Apple

Apple makes Safari available for Windows

8. Apple makes Safari available for Windows

Steve Jobs once jokingly compared Apple making software for Windows to "offering glasses of ice water to people in hell". A few weeks later, Apple launched a version of its Safari web browser for Windows.

Although Safari has never taken off and gained a big market share on Windows, it does have a niche appeal to those who like the sparse user interface and quick loading times. It also represents one of Apple's most open initiatives — the WebKit browser engine that powers Safari.

Apple refined the engine from earlier technologies and then turned it into an open-source project that has since been used by Google, Nokia, Palm, BlackBerry and others.

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5 of 11 Apple

Snow Leopard connects to Exchange

7. Snow Leopard connects to Exchange

In Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard), Apple integrated support for Microsoft Exchange into its built-in apps: Mail, iCal and Address Book. This required Exchange 2007 or later on the back-end and the integration was a little buggy. However, it was another step towards making Macs more appealing to the many businesses that run Microsoft software in the server room.

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6 of 11 Apple

Boot Camp installs Windows on Mac hardware

6. Boot Camp installs Windows on Mac hardware

In 2006 Apple switched the Mac platform from proprietary PowerPC processors to standard Intel x86 chips — the same ones that had traditionally powered most Windows PCs.

Later that year, the company released Boot Camp, a free utility that allowed Windows XP to be installed on the new Intel-based Mac hardware and dual booted with Mac OS X. Boot Camp later supported Windows Vista and then Windows 7.

Naturally, Microsoft didn't object to the move, because Boot Camp required a Windows licence.

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7 of 11 Apple

Microsoft licenses Exchange ActiveSync for iPhone

5. Microsoft licenses Exchange ActiveSync for iPhone

When the original iPhone was released in 2007, its primary accomplishment was a touchscreen user interface that made smartphones accessible to more than just the email-junkie professionals who had previously owned BlackBerry and Palm Treo devices. However, the first iPhone was not very useful. It had limited software and it couldn't easily connect to corporate email.

Apple fixed both of those problems a year later with version 2.0 — the iPhone 3G — by opening the device up to third-party developers and licensing Exchange ActiveSync from Microsoft so that iPhone could connect to Exchange email, calendar and contacts.

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8 of 11 CNET.com

Microsoft invests $150m in Apple

4. Microsoft invests $150m in Apple

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1996 and soon became the interim chief executive, one of the things he emphasised to Apple employees was to stop thinking about the past and Apple's old rivalry with Microsoft, and to start thinking about the future and how Apple could move forward in bold new ways.

At Macworld 1997 in Boston, Jobs sent the same message to Apple fans when he announced a deal with Microsoft that would bring a close to Apple's legal action over Windows, provide a $150m (now £92m) Microsoft investment in Apple, and bring a multi-year guarantee that Microsoft would continue to develop software for the then-ailing Macintosh platform.

To the Apple fans who booed Jobs when he brought in Microsoft chairman Bill Gates via video conference to announce the Microsoft deal, Jobs said: "We have to let go of the notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose."

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9 of 11 Microsoft

Internet Explorer becomes the default browser on Mac

3. Internet Explorer becomes the default browser on Mac

As part of that 1997 deal, Apple agreed to make Microsoft's Internet Explorer the default web browser for Mac. At the time, Microsoft was in a pitched battle with Netscape for web-browser supremacy.

It's easy to forget that Internet Explorer 3.0 for Mac was a decent piece of software at the time, not least because Microsoft had a lot of engineers working on IE. Later, IE would get a well-earned reputation for being slow, bloated and buggy, after Microsoft won the browser war and lost interest in it. But, in 1997, having two great web browsers available for Mac — three if you count Mosaic — was a very good thing, especially on the eve of the iMac and lots of new consumers buying computers to connect to the internet.

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10 of 11 Apple

Apple makes iPod compatible with Windows

2. Apple makes iPod compatible with Windows

A year after Apple debuted the iPod in 2001 as an accessory that it had hoped would buoy Mac sales, the company realised the device had much greater mass-market potential and decided to make it compatible with Windows computers as well.

That development — combined with the opening of the iTunes music store in 2003 selling songs for 99 cents — set the iPod on a course to becoming one of the best-selling consumer electronics products of all time.

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11 of 11 Apple

Microsoft develops Word for the original Macintosh

1. Microsoft develops Word for the original Macintosh

When Apple created its forward-looking Macintosh computer in the early 1980s to combat the IBM PC, which was out-pacing the Apple II, Microsoft was one of the early believers in the new vision.

Gates took a chance on Jobs's graphical user interface and agreed to be one of the early application developers. The result was Microsoft Word, which would eventually be one of the computing world's most popular applications.

"One of the most fun things we did was the Macintosh and that was so risky. People may not remember that Apple really bet the company [on its success]," Gates said.

Of course, the collaboration on the Macintosh also led to Microsoft developing its own competing platform — Windows — which later became the source of the bitter rivalry between the two companies.

This story originally appeared as Photos: Microsoft-Apple collaboration, the 10 greatest moments on ZDNet.com.

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