With the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton just two days away, ChannelWeb thought it was only right to pay homage to some of the channel's most celebrated partnerships.
We've come up with a list of our five favourite IT industry love stories. Which one gets your vote as the best of all time? Have your say by voting in our poll.
These pairings have been carefully chosen, but do let us know if you think we've missed out any timeless romances by leaving a comment below.
Look out on ChannelWeb tomorrow for a rundown of the industry's most explosive divorces.
Ballmer & Gates
It was love at first sight for Microsoft bigwigs Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, who first met as Harvard undergraduates in the 1970s. College drop-out Gates brought in his buddy as one of his nascent software firm's early employees and they have lived more or less happily ever after since. Cross words were allegedly exchanged during the handover of power to Ballmer (pictured) in 2000, but the new CEO has since compared his relationship with Gates to that of a husband and wife.
Jobs & Wozniak
Much like the royal couple, the partnership that founded Apple has endured its ups and downs. In 1976, twenty-something friends Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak teamed up with "adult supervisor" Ronald Wayne. But, as some previous royal marriages have shown, a three-person partnership doesn't work, and Wayne cashed in his Apple chips for just $2,100. With the backing of other investment angels, Jobs and Woz's romance blossomed, as did their company. Both have come and gone from Apple over the years, but its huge latter-day success under Jobs' stewardship has given this story a happy ending. Although not quite so much for the forgotten man Wayne.
"Unfortunately, my whole life has been a day late and a dollar short," he said recently.
Ledger & Morris
Here's hoping that Wills and Kate's love story is as enduring as that of UK distribution double-act Neil Ledger and Ian Morris. The serial entrepreneurs' relationship first blossomed in the early 1990s as they founded and sold networking distributor Data Connectivity for £7m. They have since repeated the trick with equIP, which they flogged for £10.5m in 2005, and look set to do the same at current distribution venture VADition.
Avnet & Bell
Newlyweds Avnet and Bell may have had an awkward honeymoon period but their union appears to have gone down well with the big vendors. Shortly after marching Bell down the aisle, Avnet administered a dose of tough love as it closed Bell's UK HQ in Chessington and axed its brand name. However, the fairytale romance appears to be back on track with the combined entity surviving distribution culls from a number of large vendors, including Oracle/Sun and, most recently, Symantec.
Microsoft & Nokia
The coming together of Microsoft and Nokia may be one of the industry's newest, but it is potentially one of the most significant. The pair announced in February that they would tie the knot with a "broad strategic partnership". Nokia remains the world's leading phone maker, but its lack of innovation has seen it lose market share of late. Microsoft, meanwhile, has failed to gain much traction with its Windows Mobile OS. Together, the two hope to show young upstarts such as Google and Apple who's boss. With their combined scale, you'd have to give them a chance. But some feel the union has an air of the desperation of a drunken dancefloor fumble between two singletons at the end of a wedding.
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