As Apple does a victory lap after becoming the first and only company in the world with a market cap of $3 trillion, don’t forget it was Microsoft that came to the rescue of the company back in 1997 and provided their nemesis with a $150 million cash infusion that basically saved Steve Jobs’ company.
Twenty-five years ago, Apple was struggling and in desperate need of cash. Steve Jobs proved his masterful negotiating skills by issuing non-voting shares of Apple stock to Microsoft in order to get the much-needed investment that would keep the company afloat.
On top of the money, Jobs also got Microsoft to promise they would support Office for the Mac computer for five years. In exchange, Jobs said Apple would drop their lawsuit, which alleged Microsoft copied Mac OS for Windows.
The announcement of the cooperative deal took place at Macworld in Boston when Jobs appeared on stage with a satellite feed image of Bill Gates fed into the theater.
Partnering with their arch enemy on any level seemed almost sacrilegious for diehard Apple enthusiasts, and Jobs had to address that angry mob and let them know why he crafted the deal that he did.
“We have to let go of a few notions here. We have to let go of the notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft needs to lose.”
Guess what? If that unlikely union had not occurred, we’d probably be living in a world with no iTunes, iPhone, iMac, or Apple TV.
Apple’s market cap at this time in 1997 was just $2.3 billion. They are now on the path to hitting $4 trillion sometime in the near future.