Over the last 18 months or so it has become quite normal for Apple devices to be on demo stages during big Microsoft events. Microsoft has even frustrated some of its own enthusiasts because the company has pushed hard to get their apps and services onto their competitor’s platforms well ahead of their own.
Satya Nadella refers to this as the mobility of the experience.
It means using Word or Outlook on iOS or Android should be the same experience as it is on Windows devices. While there are some apps, such as the mobile Office apps or Cortana (on Android), that have reached this status many others are still behind.
So in reality, seeing those Apple devices used during Microsoft keynotes and demos is right in line with this effort to get those apps and services to customers wherever they are.
When we all tuned into the two-hour long Apple product keynote today the last thing anyone expected was to see a Microsoft device on stage. However, the reaction on Twitter when Microsoft Office Program Manager Kirk Koenigsbauer was introduced by Apple’s Phil Schiller to demo Office on the new iPad Pro caused quite a murmur on Twitter.
I believe the last time a Microsoft executive appeared on stage during an Apple event was in 1997 when Bill Gates appeared on a live video shot during MacWorld shortly after his company invested $150 million to help save Apple.
Luckily, the crowd were more unsure how to react to Microsoft's presence this time compared to 1997 when Bill Gates was booed by attendees.
While this appearance was not on the CEO level, it was still significant because Apple asked Microsoft to demo their Office apps on the iPad Pro right after they unveiled the product. Microsoft was the first of three different third parties to provide iPad Pro demos and it was right in their wheel house because of the effort the Redmond company has made to get their apps and services on the other two major platforms.
The big question is whether this appearance by Microsoft during the Apple product keynote was a result of warming relations between the two companies or was it an attempt by Apple to legitimize their iPad Pro as an Enterprise device that can do normal office work – no pun intended.
I imagine, if asked to vote, this would likely be split among enthusiast lines.
One thing it does indicate is that Microsoft likely had pre-announcement access to the iPad Pro in order to test their apps on the device and develop their brief demo so that alone is a signal of trust from Apple towards Microsoft so maybe this is an easing of those tensions.
What do you think of this new level of relationship between Redmond and Cupertino?