We all do crazy things from time to time. After all, “we’re never gonna survive unless we get a little crazy.” But sometimes those crazy things that we do might affect our very ability to survive.

Check out: Microsoft invested in Apple in 1997: ‘It might have been the craziest thing we ever did’



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  • (on the) brink (of)a crucial or critical point, especially of a situation or state beyond which success or catastrophe occurs
  • commend – praise formally or officially
  • default – a preselected option adopted by a computer program or other mechanism when no alternative is specified by the user or programmer
  • big fish – an important or influential person
  • dead duck – a person or thing that is defunct or has no chance of success
  • the likes of sb – people similiar to sb
  • sweep the leg out from under sb – when you do whatever you have to do to win
  • go from strength to strength – to become better and better or more and more successful


Think about it

Answer the questions below.

  • What do the numbers 1997, 150, 3, 700, 247 refer to?
  • What was the official version of why Microsoft invested in Apple in 1997?
  • What was the true story behind the 1997 deal?
  • Who was the dead duck, and who was the big fish back in 1997?
  • Why do Ballmer’s words seem to be “somewhat of an understatement?”


Practice makes perfect

Fill in the blank spaces with the missing words.

  • Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has admitted that Microsoft was crazy to invest in Apple back in 1997 when the brand was on the ________ of bankruptcy.
  • The 1997 deal came within weeks of Apple facing bankruptcy and was announced as ________of a broad patent cross-licensing agreement and a promise from Microsoft to provide its Office software to Macs in exchange for Internet Explorer being the ________browser on Apple’s machines.
  • For millennials who couldn’t possibly comprehend a world where Apple didn’t rule it was a period of PC boom and Microsoft was the big ________.
  • While Microsoft thought the $150m investment was a smart legal move to help a potential ________ duck who posed no threat, they didn’t count on ________ likes of Steve Jobs.
  • From here Apple moved from strength to ________ with the creation of the iPhone and iPad, which revolutionised personal computing habits and swept the ________ out from under Microsoft. The rest is history.


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