In the years since Steve Jobs had returned to Apple, he had rarely missed an opportunity to mock Microsoft or Windows, and he often took on its much bigger competitor with a palpable sense of glee. But Microsoft’s Longhorn missteps triggered an escalation in Apple’s digs on Microsoft. And as the delays continued, so did Apple’s efforts to call out Microsoft’s incompetence and its relative agility.
In June 2004, Apple hosted its annual developer conference, WWDC, at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. To put this date in perspective, Microsoft had released Windows XP in October 2001, but its next major follow-up, Longhorn, was still years away. Apple, meanwhile, had released Mac OS X Cheetah and Puma in 2001, and it had followed up those releases with Jaguar in 2002 and Panther in 2003.