I observed this interesting strategy of Apple, one that appears to be working for them. On one hand is Microsoft, which undertakes (costly and slow) original research to develop technologies from the ground up (such as WMA, WMV, the Windows kernel, ActiveX, and so on), and on the other hand is Apple - which chooses an appropriate open source or open standard technology, optimizes and extends it, and fully embraces it. This strategy allows Apple to equal or surpass Microsoft while making smaller investments in technology.
A few examples
Microsoft - Trident (MSHTML), Direct3D, Windows Kernel, WMV, WMA, ActiveX
Apple - WebKit (KHTML), OpenGL, FreeBSD, H.264, AAC, Java
Apple's strategy is good for the world too - instead of spending millions of dollars in creating new and different solutions for the same problem, Apple picks the 'good enough' existing solutions to those problems and improves them. Microsoft, on the other hand, prefers reinventing the wheel.
My Detailed Profile On Google