An Emotional Bill Gates Discusses Relationship With Steve Jobs
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were seen as bitter rivals in the early 90s platform wars, as each man´s respective company fought for dominance in the realm of computers. It´s a war that Microsoft — at least initially — soundly won. Though these two men had very different beliefs about the future of technology and how businesses should be run, they never admitted having the kind of hostile relationship that the media tried to drum up for them.
In the months following Jobs´ passing in October 2011, more stories emerged about the great fondness the two had for one another, even seeing each other as equals and friends in every sense of the word. Walter Issacson´s biography of Steve Jobs even tells a story of Gates coming to visit Jobs in the last weeks of his life, a trip which Gates himself has confirmed in previous interviews.
Last night, CBS´ “60 minutes” aired another interview with Bill Gates in which he again discussed his relationship with Jobs and even became emotional as he recalled his late friend.
In the interview with Charlie Rose, who has interviewed both Gates and Jobs on several occasions, Microsoft´s founder discussed their last meeting, saying the discussion was “forward-looking.” According to Gates, even as he was in the last moments of his life, Steve Jobs was dissatisfied with the role of technology in education, a matter that he cared passionately about.
“He and I, in a sense, grew up together,” said Gates in the interview, which aired Sunday evening.
“We were within a year of the same age, and we were kind of naively optimistic and built big companies. And every fantasy we had about creating products and learning new things — we achieved all of it. And most of it as rivals. But we always retained a certain respect and communication, including even when he was sick.”
In his later years, Steve Jobs spent much of his time focused on Venus, his 262-foot long yacht built by Phillipe Stark. In the Issacson biography, Jobs said the yacht was something which kept him going, something to constantly work towards instead of admitting defeat to cancer.
Those who visited Jobs in his last days were often shown early designs of Venus, and Gates was no exception.
“He showed me the boat he was working on, and talked about how he’s looking forward to being on it, even though we both knew there was a good chance that wouldn’t happen,” said Gates in his interview.
Gates also admitted some areas where Apple and Steve Jobs bested Microsoft, specifically tablets. Though Microsoft and PC makers had been putting out tablets in the early 2000s, none of them had been able to spark the same kind of excitement that Jobs pulled off with the iPad. In his interview, Gates admitted that Jobs´ eye for design and marketing helped Apple “put the pieces together” in the iPad which made it such a hit. Later, Gates went on the offensive for the company he founded, claiming that iPad users are frustrated that they can´t use Office, suggesting they really want a Surface instead.
In 2007, Gates and Jobs famously appeared together at the All Things D conference where the two both admitted their mutual respect for one another. The two even became slightly emotional on stage as Steve Jobs quoted a Beatles lyric to define their friendship.
“You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead,” quoted Jobs, saying that the two would be friends long into the future.