Apple vs. Microsoft: How CFOs Determine the Battle of the Brands

Tami Reller, CMO/CFO of Windows

Over the last decade, the battle between Apple and Microsoft has become one of the most familiar duels in memory. While Apple and Microsoft dominate the mobile and PC markets, they’re competitively taking aim at the business market, where Dell dominates. As these technological giants battle for enterprise clients, they’re pulling out all the technical and strategic stunts. And this includes boosting their internal support and the influence of the CFO.

An interview with Tami Reller, CMO/CFO of Windows, reveals that the company is placing its bets on computing and a “new class of PCs.” The company is boosting its third-party apps availability and the flexibility of its upcoming products. Still, “There’s a lot more to do and more to focus on,” says Reller. The focus on cloud-based technology is particularly interesting, especially when you consider the fact that most CFOs acknowledge continued investment in cloud technology.

On the other hand, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer proudly told Apple users that they will never again have to pay for future OS upgrades. This announcement is particularly notable, because not only does it apply to new Mac users, but to anyone who has been using a Mac since 2009 as well. Oppenheimer elaborated that free upgrades would be integral to the Apple experience for the lifetime of their device. This is a stark contrast to Microsoft, where the business model rests largely on charging for upgrades.

Consumers Will Decide

Still, regardless of new offerings and internal improvements, the fate of the dueling tech giants rests largely in the hands of consumers. Many argue that even though Apple boasts superior technology, few actually need the specifications, which could result in lower sales. Perhaps this is why Apple is hammering its productivity and is focusing on the enterprise market.

A key point for both companies will be whether or not they can maintain their share of the mobile market. Before Amy Hood was named the new CFO at Microsoft, Peter Klein revealed that Microsoft had no ‘Plan B’ when it came to mobile devices. Regardless, it will be interesting to see the supporting technological ecosystems and how they evolve to meet greater company goals and strategy.