Apple vs Microsoft (or… how to get over our differences)

Apple Computer Inc. and Microsoft Corporation have not always seen eye to eye. In fact, I’ve just been reading about their 1988 lawsuit over copyright infringement which lasted 4 years and was finally sorted out in 1994.

For those of us growing up in the 80s and buying computers for college or university in the 90s there was a big decision to be made. In fact, I think the same decision is still being discussed if you are buying new hardware but I’m wondering what we can learn from how the companies have done business since 1994.

In 1997, five years after the lawsuit was decided, all lingering infringement questions against Microsoft regarding the Lisa and Macintosh GUI as well as Apple’s “QuickTime piracy” lawsuit against Microsoft were settled in direct negotiations. Apple agreed to make Internet Explorer their default browser, to the detriment of Netscape. Microsoft agreed to continue developing Microsoft Office and other software for the Mac over the next five years. Microsoft also purchased $150 million of nonvoting Apple stock, helping Apple in its financial struggles at the time. Both parties entered into a patent cross-licensing agreement. (,_Inc._v._Microsoft_Corporation

So what can we learn?

Apple and Microsoft eventually sorted out their issues in direct negotiations, something I believe is modeled in 1 Corinthians 6. How often do we bitch about other church leaders or a difference of opinion rather than having an adult discussion about it?

Apple agreed to use Internet Explorer as their default browser – we need to compromise! When we work with other churches (and we should, it’s good for the community) we need to give up some of the control we have of our own ‘patch’ or congregation and give other people’s ideas or beliefs as much space on the table as our own.

Microsoft continued to develop Office for the Mac – how much cross fertilisation of ideas do we have between denominations (or our local churches) compared to duplication because we can’t be bothered to talk about it?As an aside – it is rumoured that Microsoft are currently working on Office for the iPad.

Microsoft gave Apple money with no voting rights – when was the last time your church supported the work of another without an agenda or taking any control of what they spent it on?

The two companies signed an agreement – obviously I’m not saying we need to have some sort of interdenominational or interchurch document (I think we waste too much time and effort on paperwork as it is) but I wonder if we need to forge more formal and positive relationships with other believers around us?



  1. Great post James – and I agree working together as THE church rather than a bunch of individual churches has got to be the way forward. This is something I’ve heard from God on in the past year: unity of the church is integral to our gospel, speaking volumes to those who are looking in from the outside. Not a church but THE church. Give us faith that we might persevere Lord!!

    1. It’s so awkward isn’t it… making people realise that it’s better to work together – to put aside our doctrinal differences and just get out there to impact our communities. Thanks for your comments, I hope you enjoy future posts on the blog.

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