Microsoft and Apple battled continuously, and in the end, both won in some way or another. In an interview with The Telegraph, Bill Gates opened up about his relationship with Steve Jobs.
It is well known that Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, two brilliant minds that reinvented the technology world, didn’t have a good relationship over the years.
In Gates’s view, Jobs was “an incredible genius who contributed immensely to the field I was in [technology].” As years passed, the competition between them was obvious. But it was also obvious that Microsoft had a bigger market share until the last several years, when “Steve’s very good work on the Mac and on iPhones and iPads did extremely well.”
It’s quite an achievement, and we enjoyed each [other’s work]. He spent a lot of his time competing with me. There are lots of times when Steve said [critical] things about me. If you took the more harsh examples, you could get quite a litany.
Over the years, Jobs and Gates said several things about each other, but this tense atmosphere changed in 2007, when Gates left Microsoft to work on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. “Steve and I did an event together, and he couldn’t have been nicer.”
In the last year of his life, Jobs had several meetings with Gates, where as Gates says, they “spent literally hours reminiscing and talking about the future.” Shortly before Jobs’s death, Gates wrote a letter:
I told Steve about how he should feel great about what he had done and the company he had built. I wrote about his kids, whom I had got to know.
Asked about their tense relationship, Bill Gates clarified and said:
There was no peace to make. We were not at war. We made great products, and competition was always a positive thing. There was no [cause for] forgiveness.
After Jobs’s death, Gates received a phone call from Jobs’s wife Laurene. She told him that the “biography really doesn’t paint a picture of the mutual respect you had.” She also said Jobs appreciated the letter Gates had written and kept it by his bed.
Gates today is focused on helping one billion poor and starving people survive, and he hopes that he can live at least 25 more years and see deaths caused by these conditions drop to zero.
Our foundation won’t last long beyond Melinda’s and my lifetime. The resources will last about 20 years after whichever is the last of us to go. There is no family business, and my kids will make their own careers.