Microsofts % Stake in Apple?


macrumors 68020
Original poster
Apr 28, 2003
I know Steve sold $150,000,000 of shares (is that correct?) to microsoft in 1997, i wonder if any of you wallstreet whizz kids could tell me what percentage stakehold that was in apple, and what financially equates to with Apples current stock price. Also if anyone knows if Microsoft sold these shares at any point?

Id like to know the exact facts when i come accross people who tell me "microsoft owns apple" +_+



macrumors 65816
Jul 23, 2004
Microsoft didn't buy stock, it bought stock options. They sold short and never actually owned stock. I don't know more details than that, but Microsoft does not own any portion of Apple.


macrumors Core
Jun 16, 2004
Some history:

At the 1997 Macworld Expo, Steve Jobs announced that Apple would be entering into partnership with Microsoft. Settlement discussions regarding Apple's "Look and Feel" lawsuit and the "QuickTime piracy" lawsuit resulted in a five-year commitment from Microsoft to release Microsoft Office for Macintosh as well as a US$150 million investment in non-voting Apple stock. (This event is often inaccurately described as a "bailout" of Apple by Microsoft. At the time Apple had a little over US$1 billion in cash and cash equivalents according to their 10-Q statement.[29] Microsoft later sold its shares for a tidy profit.) Jobs also announced that Internet Explorer would be shipped as the default browser on the Macintosh

IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
That history is accurate but for one statement: The "look and feel" lawsuit had been dismissed years earlier, so it could not have been a factor in the 1997 agreement with Microsoft. The other important and often overlooked aspect of this deal was the "technology sharing" agreement between the two companies. We don't know precisely which technologies the companies agreed to share, so this has been a source of lively speculation ever since. One thing we can strongly suspect is that the $150 million investment, the Office and MSIE deal were window-dressing for the "real" deal behind the scenes.


macrumors Core
Jun 16, 2004
For the sake of the OPs argument though. It shows Microsoft no longer own any shares from the 1997 deal. Whether they own any now, I don't know.


Mar 4, 2006
Microsoft as a corporation don't own any Apple shares now. Whether Gates or Allen do personally is another matter.

I can guarantee Ballmer doesn't. Probably why he gets so mad when something happens to make the stock go up :)


macrumors 6502a
Apr 11, 2007
Rocklin, CA
What's really funny is how much richer Microsoft execs would be if they had AAPL shares instead of MSFT. :eek:

(Speaking as a former Microsoft employee who accumulated five years worth of under-water MSFT options. :mad:)


macrumors G4
Jul 17, 2002
... One thing we can strongly suspect is that the $150 million investment, the Office and MSIE deal were window-dressing for the "real" deal behind the scenes.
It is my understanding that the "real deal" was about QuickTime. Apple had caught Microsoft red-handed stealing QuickTime--to the point that mispellings in the source code were copied. Apple could have sued which would have been a long protracted process and would have netted Apple nothing in the end. Instead, Steve Jobs said "Let's not fight, let's do business."

The deal had the intended consequence of reassuring shaky Macintosh customers that the Mac was viable. An unintended consequence was that the $150 million settlement led a lot of people who can't do math that Microsoft had bought Apple. Sales of Office 98, [one of] Microsooft's concessions in the deal, made boatloads of money for the Redmond Monopoly.