Empires come. Empires go.
IBM was the 800 pound gorilla when Apple started. IBM had emphasized vertical integration and heavy customer lock-in since they were in the cash register and punch card business, creating proprietary systems and locking customers into them. That's the ethos that Steve Jobs came up in and it seems clear from what he has been quoted saying by his biographers and others that those business models were the context that Jobs saw his company and his customers within. Gates and Microsoft, on the other hand, took a very different approach. Gates 'exploited' the exploiters (IBM) by creating a third party market for what was roughly the same CPM-near-clone OS they sold to IBM for its then-new desktop line. IBM, which never thought the desktop market would amount to anything ('good for keeping recipes') was blindsided by the move, other hardware vendors rushed in that were faster on their feet, more committed to making either higher quality products (not hard) or equal products at cheaper prices (also not hard), and less cutthroat about treating their customers as cash cows. It was the open market nature of that third party market, by almost all assessments, that helped create a robust and highly competitive desktop computer market and the resulting revolution in business and personal lives. So, it's particularly sad to see Microsoft moving toward vertical integration and dumbed down products.