Only one thing in the title of this article is true. Hint: It’s the one with Apple in it.
On Wednesday, representatives of Microsoft made an unexpected surprise appearance at Apple’s September showcase event.
Apple’s head marketer, Phil Schiller had just finished talking up how new apps could help with creativity and productivity in the workplace on the freshly unveiled new iPads and iPhones, when it happened. To an enthusiastic crowd of tech journalists and industry insiders, Schiller announced he would like to bring out some 3rd party developers to the stage to demonstrate some new apps for the iPad Pro. This type of thing is standard fare at events like this: It happens all the time.
And then out came an executive from Microsoft. This doesn’t happen all the time, and the irony was not lost on the crowd.
There was a collective intake of breath from the audience, unsure if what they had heard was a joke. But as the Vice President of Microsoft Office, Kirk Koenigsbauer, purposefully made his way across the stage, the silence was broken by an almost overenthusiastic round of applause.
Konigsbauer dived straight in and began showing off how the iPad Pro, and the new Apple Pencil could be used with Office apps, such as annotating PowerPoint presentations and drawing pictures directly into Word. The main argument he sought to make was that Office works really well on the new iOS devices.
Strange as seeing Microsoft and Apple occupying the same space may be, for tech insiders the appearance while surprising probably didn’t come as too much of a shock.
In the past few years, Microsoft has put serious effort into ensuring cross platform operability for its products, even if they are competitors. For its part, Apple wants its devices to be taken more seriously as a viable alternative for businesses.
It is also not the first time a Microsoft executive has had a major impact at an Apple event. In 1997 Bill Gates appeared at the MacWorld event in Boston, announcing a $150 million investment in Apple that almost certainly saved the company from extinction.
Microsoft Office for iOS is already available for Mac, while it is scheduled to debut for Windows based machines later this month.