What's the shrewdest, smartest maneuver you've ever seen in business? by Himanshu Yadav
Answer by Himanshu Yadav:
On his return to Apple in 1997, Steve's move to crush his ego at the right time and get Apple to partner with Microsoft marked the beginning of the mother of all comebacks by any company till date.
At the end of March 1997, Apple announced a quarterly loss of $708 million. Three months later, Amelio resigned and Jobs took over as interim CEO.
Once again in charge of Apple, Jobs struck a deal with Microsoft to help ensure Apple's survival. Under the arrangement, Microsoft invested $150 million for a nonvoting minority stake in Apple, and the companies agreed to "cooperate on several sales and technology fronts."
A passage from Walter Isaacson’s Jobs’ biography about how Steve Jobs got Bill Gates to save the company with a $150 million investment – this is Jobs speaking:
I called up Bill and said, “I’m going to turn this thing around.” Bill always had a soft spot for Apple. We got him into the application software business. The first Microsoft apps were Excel and Word for the Mac. So I called him and said, “I need help.” Microsoft was walking over Apple’s patents. I said, “If we kept up our lawsuits, a few years from now we could win a billion-dollar patent suit. You know it, and I know it. But Apple’s not going to survive that long if we’re at war. I know that. So let’s figure out how to settle this right away. All I need is a commitment that Microsoft will keep developing for the Mac and an investment by Microsoft in Apple so it has a stake in our success.
Under Jobs' guidance, Apple quickly returned to profitability, and by the end of 1998, boasted sales of $5.9 billion.
The rest, as they say… is history!