The year is 2017, for most, Windows is a faded memory. Google Docs has reduced Office marketshare to a small niche. Cortana gets better and better, but no one wants to use voice search. Bing is also Cortana-powered now, whatever that means. Actually, Cortana is integrated into everything—Outlook, Powerpoint, Word; users hate her as much as they hate Clippy. Microsoft hopes she isn’t too annoying.
As for Ballmer, he’s had a rough few years. The LA Clippers have had many terrible seasons and Ballmer sells the team to Phil Schiller, who somehow brings the team to the top of the league — can’t innovate anymore my ass.
Nadella makes all core products free and now, the only source of revenue are sales of limited-edition Xboxes. Samsung has outbid Microsoft to sponsor the NFL and hires Stephen Elop as VP of Product. Google buys Microsoft Research and its associated patents. Meanwhile Nadella wheels out Microsoft’s final war chest and spends all of that fortune acquiring 50 more startups that don’t make any money, increasing Microsoft’s portfolio of calendar apps to 34 and email apps to 16.
Looking to save the company and satisfy the increasingly frustrated shareholders, Microsoft’s Board of Directors makes a decision to fire Nadella to hire someone from the outside, gaining so-called outside perspective. The choice was clear because there only existed one who possessed all the qualifications—overqualified even. Their decision to appoint Leo Apotheker as CEO, President, Chairman of the Board, COO, CFO, CTO, as well as Chief Innovation Officer and Vice President of Everything led to unanimous applause, even among the usual naysayers like John Gruber (who of course, had predicted it) and Marco Arment.
Apotheker turns around Microsoft by doubling down on Windows, finally releasing the long-awaited Lumia Denim Windows Phone update. Microsoft fans, who had left to seek refuge in inferior OSes (some even went so far as to use Android and even worse, desktop Linux) are coming back in troves, enchanted by the People Hub and Live Tiles.
Overnight, Microsoft market cap shoots up, as Apple’s stock goes on free fall. Following Michael Dell’s wise words, Tim Cook resigns and shuts down Apple to give money back to shareholders. Apple’s executive team retires to form a rock band. Paul Thurott, Mary Jo Foley, and Tom Warren start an Apple blog.