Infographic – Microsoft vs. Apple: The History of Computing

Sean Lind at Manolution has posted a FREAKING HUGE infographic highlighting the battle between Microsoft and Apple. I would have added it to this post but the infographic is 3.1 Megs in size. You can view the full image by clicking on the big thumbnail at the bottom of this post. The super long chart lists every major product launch by the two rival companies and their respective stock prices at the time (the stock price was adjusted for stock splits).

As Richard Nixon destroyed happiness with his war on drugs, the 1970โ€™s saw the worldโ€™s first personal computers, inspiring five geeks to start a pair of companies which would go on to shape the future of computing as we know it.

In January of 1975 Bill Gates and Paul Allen called up Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems claiming to have a working BASIC interpreter for the MITS Altair 8800 microcomputer. While that claim was entirely fictitious, it took Gates and Allen just two months to create the product they claimed to already have.

Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne founded their company, Apple, on April 1st 1976, just short of one year after the inception of Microsoft. Unlike Microsoft, who chose to focus on operating systems for other peopleโ€™s hardware, Apple began their business by selling bare-bones hand-built computer kits, named the Apple I.

Image By Manolution โ€“ The Blog for Men

83 thoughts on “Infographic – Microsoft vs. Apple: The History of Computing”

  1. Juan says:

    Really interesting post, this is indeed historical information that will change the way the world communicates FOREVER.,

    1. Jeffrey Kang says:

      Juan, hat’s a worthless comment. It’s clear you did not read the post.

      On the other hand, I heard Steve Jobs begged BillyG to ghostcode the OS for “mac-pull” – is this true? Anyone feel free to enlighten me please.

    2. Communicate or computing ?

      1. Jeffrey already pointed out that he hasn’t read post and just spamming

        1. The same could be said about certain others making reply after reply just to get in the Top Commentators list (not talking about you.)

    3. Ha ha.. Guys just forget it..

      1. PPC Ian says:

        I actually think the comments are funny! It’s funny when people comment without reading the post. The top commentators are all guilty of it at one time or another.

        1. Kevin Kimes says:

          Not me! Well… maybe a liiiittle bit. I will try to at least understand the content enough to say something useful even if I don’t read the whole thing before commenting.

    4. Nice infographic, and yes, at 3 mb it is freaking huge!

  2. Kevin Kimes says:

    Let me be the first to reply after actually looking at the information ๐Ÿ˜‰

    What’s most interesting is that Microsoft still has the lions share of desktop and laptop computing market share, but Apple still has managed to surpass them in monetary size due to owning the mobile and mp3 market shares.

    1. Jeffrey Kang says:

      I’d be forced to agree.

      If BillyG wrote the software that the macs, and possibly the mobiles are using, couldn’t he reverse the role?

      1. I don’t see that happening. Apple is just way to ahead now. Kind of like facebook vs myspace.

        1. @pitbull

          provided perfect example of Facebook and myspace.

          I am eagerly waiting for the google entry on this segment … Than competition will be more interesting to watch.

      2. Kevin Kimes says:

        Gates is now a full time philanthropist. Not only with his money, though. He spends his time learning biology and trying to develop cures for diseases that are rampant in third world tropical countries.

        So while Jobs may finally be “winning” the business game, Gates is still winning at life. Heheh.

        1. Yes Gates transformed himself in a perfect way …

          I must admit that he divided his life perfectly. Enjoyed his business life to certain age and now he dedicated to welfare of human being.

          Good going Mr. Gates.

    2. And the credit goes to pirated windows avaialable to even 10 year old kid.

      Window is available easily and that’s why this one have very good share.

      1. Absolutely.
        Piracy has really helped for such a growth of Windows.

        1. That’s true. It’s funny how when microsoft detects you have a pirated version they give you a discount off the retail price to buy a licensed copy.

      2. Kevin Kimes says:

        Not really. it still came bundled with every new computer. It’s prevalence early on and now is due to the fact that Microsoft didn’t and doesn’t sell computers and has never restricted the use of their software to specific computers (other than obviously by compatibility limitations).

        Any person or company could put together computers and use Windows on them.

        Apple, on the other hand, has actively pursued anyone or any company who attempts to build Mac compatible computers. Even now that it’s possible to do so with ordinary PC components (since they switched to Intel architecture), Apple still sues the boots off anyone selling them with Mac OS or even advertising compatibility with it.

    3. The good thing about the competition of the two is the fast improvement of the quality of their products. I just hope the competition will remain healthy.

  3. Jesus that’s a huge graphic it must have taken a long time to create. It is interesting to see Microsofts declining stock value against Apple’s rising value today. I still remember way back when Apple Macs were synonymous with “suck” and somehow they have pulled their PCs out of the bottom of the barrel and made them premium.

    1. Premium is a matter of perspective really. Most macs I have ever priced out tend to have sub par stats compared to an equally priced PC.

      One has to question the value of the closed mac operating system, and the closed hardware. As far as I’m aware mac still locks everything down to keep people from changing things easily.

      I think that Macs value vs price is complete crap compared to PC especially when you add in the fact that there is significantly less software options for the mac vs PC.

      Mac is just better at marketing their ‘shiny, sleek, and sexy’ (and overpriced) system. Fan base is a HUGE factor in their market share.

      1. Kevin Kimes says:


        I can easily build a PC which is superior to a Mac in every way – in terms of hardware. Any Mac. And, in almost every case, for less money.

        However, Mac does offer a premium product for people who can’t build their own systems. There aren’t any large scale vendors out there offering pre-built PCs with the same level of physical quality.

        1. But how you will get the look of Mac my dear Kevin

  4. KitKupon says:

    I think if we can see the chart of viruses(Win) vs. viruses free(OS X) then picture would be different something like 100% vs 0% or if IE all versions vs. Safary :)))
    Each and every New product from Mac is the world’ success. What about Win? ha….. don’t think so, just new headache

    1. the virus argument is old and outplayed. Macs get viruses as well, the only reason they get almost none is because of the user base of macs is so small compared to PC no one actually cares to write a virus. Macs don’t get viruses, because no one cares.

      1. KitKupon says:

        We have what we have. Probably 20 years down the road, but now we have stable environment, simple and great interface. It’s not advertising. 5 years ago I switched to Mac and NO problem. even ONE.

    2. Kevin Kimes says:

      Keep advertising that, and you’ll find the argument vanish if enough people “buy” into it. It’s already begun, with Macs recently having a rather high profile virus.

      One major difference is that Microsoft doesn’t have an entire department dedicated to eradicating any trace of criticism, threating any defiant media outlet with either legal action or a “no more early product reviews or party invites for you” blacklisting.

    3. Yes Apple are coming with great ideas and with great product whereas I do not think that windows tried their hands in any new product.

  5. Abhik says:

    Windows 7 still owns that little market share? That’s strange as it no doubt is the best Windows OS ever released.

    1. My vote is still in the favour of Win XP

      1. I’ll second that. It certainly doesn’t have the bells and whistles as Windows 7, but it’s certainly the most stable (hopefully Windows 7 will prove me wrong on this eventually).

        1. If you are still liking windows XP that does not mean that Windows 7 is not good but what it does mean that you are not looking for improvement. Just admit it Windows 7 is better than Windows XP. We are just addicted to XP so much that we think its the best.

          1. Ok … Kashif and Abhik

            Point out here, why Win 7 is better than Win XP. Just explain it point by point … would love to see your reply

          2. Ha ha.. Zk we don’t need to write here, just ask Microsoft or search “advantages of Windows 7 over XP” and you will find pretty much results with complete illustration on the topic, Just to point out here, GUI of Windows 7 is much better than XP. But I am also getting your point and if I am right then you must read this post..

          3. Kevin Kimes says:

            Windows 7 is:
            -More stable – when you use up to date drivers, software and hardware
            -Far, far, far less vulnerable to exploits and security attacks (Vista was as well, whole new architecture)
            -Equally fast in most scenarios
            -Vastly superior user interface (Vista was bad, 7 is great)
            -A much more “native” support for 64-bit, which is a must to go beyond ~3.7GB of memory. Under 4GB is sooo 2007.

            Source: I am an IT Pro.

          4. Thanks Kevin for adding this here..

          5. Appreciate your effort Kevin …

            Will shift to Window 7 soon.

  6. I agree this is a great history and awesome windows,Computing is usually defined as the activity of using and improving computer hardware and software.

    1. Hey Kevin

      According to you what is the best hardware conf iguration for win 7

  7. Computer programming in general is also the process of writing, testing, debugging, and maintaining the source code and documentation of computer programs.

  8. An assembled normal user PC can cost around $450 to $500 where as a mac need around $1000+ … So may be because of that microsoft windows is more popular but if we will look at the data recent all products of apple made history … Ipod, ipad, iphone … Amazing

    1. Yeah.. and especially after the release of iphone and ipad , Apple shares rose like a rocket

      1. @ Kashif …

        Increase the size of your fonts of your blog.

          1. You are welcome … I think you should change your font as well … either Verdana or Bookman Old style.

  9. Soon we will see another player Google and with that addition things will be more interesting …

    1. When the Google PC boots up, will it show a different logo depending on what day it is? ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Kevin Kimes says:

        New desktop Doodle for each week.

        1. I am sure if Google will join the OS war than this will be revolutionary for computer world.

          And I am sure this will happen soon …

  10. Mercer says:

    You meant it when you said that was big…

    I’m wondering what the Google Vs. Apple inforgraphic will look like? If we learn anything from this infographic, it’s that a lot can change in 10 years.

    Anyone else have an Apple //c? ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Kevin Kimes says:

      I had a IIc, I think. (No, that’s not LLC, it’s “two see”, for those confused).

      When I was in 8th grade! I don’t think that was quite state of the art at the time, though.

  11. Tikyd says:

    I find interesting that apple made its promotion in 1984 in Newsweek based on the infographics. I put that in contrast with how advertising is done today.

  12. PPC Ian says:

    I’m a big fan of Apple, always have been! It’s nice to see their huge market cap these days.

  13. I love following all Google product offer. I think i like the rate at which Google is going. thanks for sharing this awesome post.

    1. Yes Google is spreading their wings quite fast … Whether you are mac or pc both use google

  14. it took me a long time for reading this entire history and it was so interesting that I feel myself blessed for getting this info. How ups and downs are coming in the Apple but in the end they are winner as I think.

    1. War is still going on … and it will …

      So declaring Apple a winner at this stage is not the right thing to do.

      1. Kevin Kimes says:

        There’s no winner, really. They are both winning, as hugely successful companies. Apple is succeeding in places MS isn’t doing as well, and vice-versa. The overall monetary size fluctuates like the tides of the sea.

        1. Yes there is war Kevin … It can be Apple or Microsoft / Steve or Bill.

          You should read their remarks on each other products and marketing strategy.

  15. Did anyone else notice the part in 8/31/1999, “apple receives over 140,000 pre-orders for its recently announced iBook, and announces the Power Macintosh G4 which, due to its speed, was classified as a weapon by the US government.”

    If that was a weapon, what do they consider a high end enthusiast computer from today? A weapon of mass destruction?

    Oh and thank you for the post John, gives a good perspective on the big players.

    1. Lol on the “weapon of mass destruction,” I never knew that I just looked it up and ton of results show up for the g4 being classified as a weapon.

    2. Kevin Kimes says:

      Because Macs back then used RISC processors, they could complete a lot more integer operations per second than CISC based PCs. They weren’t actually faster at most actual computing tasks, though.

  16. One thing is important here and that is Diversification. The Apple is manipulating its strategy in a unique way to lead the market from the front and if you compare the products, I believe, both are fantastic with high quality products. It is not XP or Windows 7, the one thing is there and that is QUALITY and VALUE for money. I am foreseeing more dynamic competition between these two in coming future.

    1. Yeah… and I am excited about future of these two rivals..

      1. I think Apple is far best because of their innovative nature.

        They are keep giving new products and new gadgets to tech lover.

        People are so much in love for those products that they staying on que for more than 24 hours.

        Now that one is real special.

  17. fazal mayar says:

    im surprised at the statistics but windows 7 is quite a good OS but windows xp was too

  18. fas says:

    Wait till iOS catches up. Windows will seriously lose market share.

  19. I love both Apple and Microsoft. Cause both of them are helping us to Grow.

    1. Than what do you think about the Google …

  20. Also Both Company are different from each other.

    1. PPC Ian says:

      That’s a really positive way to look at it! ๐Ÿ™‚ it’s true that both companies add a ton of value and are pushing innovation forward. While I’m a true Apple fan, Microsoft is doing some great stuff too.

      1. Ian if you are talking about innovative than Microsoft is nothing in front of Apple innovation.

  21. rakesh kumar says:

    I love the way jobs revived the apple company again. Now It’s again the trend setter in mobile computing. really interesting database.

  22. I am greatly surprised to see the immense popularity of I phone 4 from the house of Apple. It is really fantastic product. I think the I Phone 5 is ready now for commercial purposes.

  23. Yes, It’s great to hear again.

  24. Has anybody read the book outliers? It is incredible to read the back story about these guys and all of the things that had to align for the mto be successful

  25. I don’t know whether some books are available or not. If you find something, please do tell us as well.

  26. Kevin Kimes says:

    One thing about Microsoft’s lack of success outside of Windows/Office market share is they seem to “almost” hit big things long before anyone else.

    Hotmail could have been what GMail became, but they blew it.

    Windows Mobile could have been what iOS became, but they blew it again.

    Windows Phone 7 actually seems potentially nice, but I haven’t had it hands-on yet.

  27. I totally agree on this but one thing is for sure and that is the Microsoft people are taking care of Global diversification strategy and they are much concerned with strategic goals rather than going for short runs.

  28. Bowen Agency says:

    I think Windows can really be a tough OS to beat but with the innovations that Mac is doing there is nothing impossible to do. ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. Hum Great Article, Learn many things.

  30. Forex News says:

    Piracy has really helped for such a growth of Windows.

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