April Fool’s Day is a month away, and yet I feel like my leg is being pulled. Apple and Microsoft are pals now?
In a speech last week at the University of Washington, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made the following statement: "Apple's done a very nice job that allows people to monetize and commercialize their intellectual property." Wow, talk about a new attitude. Ballmer has been known to criticize Apple and even laugh at the iPhone. Now this latest item has some experts wondering if this 180-degree turnaround is somewhat related to the Apple vs. Google war.
There have been rumors that the iPhone will dump Google search (via the mobile Safari browser), and replace it with Bing. Ah, okay. If that pans out, then it would explain Ballmer’s newfound congeniality toward Cupertino and the handset he used to sneer at. The Seattle Times tried to get Ballmer to comment on the situation (or as TUAW put it, asked him if there’s an “enemy of my enemy is my friend” situation brewing). To that, Ballmer acted almost coquettish: He demured, smiled, replied that he couldn’t answer that, and then drove away.
The thought of a Microsoft-Apple relationship makes me wonder if I’m in bizarro land. And the tension between Apple and Google seems to be going beyond “just business” now; like there’s something mysteriously personal fueling Steve Jobs’ strategy. He seems so fired up, he’s willing to partner with almost anyone — even rivals who’ve previously bashed his work — to take on Google. (And on a side note: If Bing lands on the iPhone, does it mean Jobs doesn’t really see Microsoft’s other pet project, Windows Phone 7 series, as a threat?)
Wow, who needs soap operas when we’ve got the mobile tech sector to tune into?
Maybe this drama will spawn “Pirates of Silicon Valley, Part 2.” I’m pretty sure the original TV movie’s star — Noah Wyle, who portrayed a young Jobs — has plenty of space in his schedule for it. William H. Macy would make an awesome Eric Schmidt. As for Ballmer — Craig T. Nelson’s ability to simultaneously turn red at the drop of a hat and play nice as needed would make him a shoe in.