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Legal Conflict Among Apple and Microsoft

Written by Manpreet Taak, a pupil at Cantell School on 10 July 2018

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The conflict between the multinational technology companies began due to debates upon “who invented the graphical user interface?”. The holder of the rights for the interface (Macintosh) of the next major operating system will have the ability to set standards for application software, thus Apple attempted to prevent Microsoft from becoming a major operating system.

Prior to the lawsuit between Apple and Microsoft, it is believed that Microsoft had assisted Apple in developing Macintosh. However, Jean-Louis Gassée (Apple Computer Executive), denied allowing Microsoft to utilize the software. Nevertheless, Microsoft commercialized Windows 2.0, which is believed by Apple to be extremely similar to the software jointly created by Apple and Microsoft (software 1.0).

In 1988, the legal conflict between Apple and Microsoft continued, due to Apple filing a lawsuit against Microsoft for plagiarizing 189 contested visual displays, Apple claimed that Microsoft had therefore violated the interface’s copyright. In addition to breaching a contract, as Apple had not permitted Microsoft to use the software for future versions of Windows. 

This led to a legal dispute, which persisted for approximately 6 years, with the court eventually coming to a verdict in 1993 in favor of Microsoft, due to Apple and Microsoft merging to make the software, as a result dividing copyright protection.

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