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Microsoft Buries Hatchet With Apple In Heartwarming Holiday TV Ad

Microsoft and Apple have fought like cats and dogs for years in competitive advertisements, but a new holiday-themed ad from Microsoft could signal a change on this front, according to partners.

Microsoft is getting high marks from partners and industry watchers for a new holiday television advertisement that suggests a desire to have a more friendly relationship with Apple.

In the ad, posted to Microsoft's YouTube channel Tuesday, a group of employees from Microsoft's Fifth Avenue retail store in New York City are seen marching to the nearby Apple store, where they meet up with a local children's choir and begin singing "Let There be Peace on Earth" on the sidewalk outside.

Alerted by the clatter, Apple employees come rushing outside to see what was the matter. Then everyone smiles and hugs amid a glow of mutual admiration and respect. During that moment, no one seems to care that the two vendors have spent tons of time and money over the years making ads that bash each other's products.

[Related: Microsoft Pulls Apple-Bashing iPhone 5 Video, Says It Was Just Joking]

Microsoft partners see the new ad as the latest example of how the "new" Microsoft, under the leadership of Satya Nadella, is focused on forging friendlier relationships with competitors.

"Microsoft is definitely putting their arms around a lot of former rivals," Rand Morimoto, president of Convergent Computing, an Oakland, Calif.-based Microsoft partner, told CRN. "It’s great to see the new leadership under Satya; he’s mended bridges and really made Microsoft a more likeable player in the marketplace."

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was famously averse to his employees using Apple products, but the software giant actually released OneNote for the iPad -- its first Office app custom built for Apple's tablet -- back in 2011.

However, under Nadella, Microsoft has made a priority of getting its software running on as many platforms as possible, even when doing so could enrich competing platforms while eroding interest in its own.

Since Nadella took the helm in February 2014, Microsoft has stepped up support for open source and made it easier for developers to write apps for Apple iOS and Android. Microsoft has also formed cloud partnerships with one-time rivals Salesforce.com and Red Hat.

While the Microsoft holiday ad may not portend a similar partnership with Apple, its partners believe that a deeper relationship between the vendors could help both in their battle against Google, both on the Android front and in the cloud wars that loom on the horizon.

PUBLISHED DEC. 2, 2015

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