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Before he died, Steve Jobs kept a letter from Bill Gates by his bed

post #1 of 126
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In a new interview, Microsoft founder Bill Gates reveals he wrote a letter to Steve Jobs before he passed away, and the letter apparently meant so much to Jobs that he kept it at his bedside.

Gates spoke this week with students at a school in South London, where he acknowledged that Jobs had said critical things about him in the past. But according to The Telegraph, Gates said the two were comfortable with one another by the time Jobs became gravely ill late last year.

"There was no peace to make. We were not at war," Gates said. "We made great products, and competition was always a positive thing."

In fact, Gates said he received a phone call from Jobs's wife, Laurene Powell Jobs, about negative comments her husband had made to biographer Walter Isaacson, in which he called Gates a "basically unimaginative person who "has never invented anything." Gates said Jobs's wife told him that Isaacson's book didn't "paint a picture of the mutual respect" the two had for one another.

Gates also revealed that he wrote a letter to Jobs when his death was imminent, in which he told the Apple co founder "he should feel great about what he had done and the company he had built." Gates also wrote about Jobs's kids, who he had gotten to know.




Jobs's wife reportedly told Gates that Jobs appreciated the letter, and even kept it at his bedside.

Gates's latest comments come only days after he spoke with Nightline about Jobs, as well as his own philanthropy and efforts to eradicate diseases like malaria. Gates said in that interview that it was strange to have someone as "vibrant" as Jobs die so young.
post #2 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider

…Gates said. "We made great products…

Well, Steve made great products. Bill made great copies.

Other than the lying to the creator of DOS to get an improbable discount and the theft of Mac OS 1.0 to make Windows and stagnate the industry for twenty years, Bill was a decent guy.

I DO agree that he's a good person, particularly with the things he has done since Microsoft and plenty of stuff during. But the good in his life didn't come from his business. He was a very dishonorable businessman.

Just like the good in Steve's life came from his business. Incredible works that truly exemplify the Crazy Ones speech.

Steve and Bill were antitheses. Two poles of the same magnet. Bill's good came with people. Steve's good came with business. On the opposite fronts, they were quite despicable.

I wonder if it was only coincidence that they existed in the industry at the same time or if they had to exist to balance each other.

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post #3 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Well, Steve made great products. Bill made great copies.

Other than the lying to the creator of DOS to get an improbable discount and the theft of Mac OS 1.0 to make Windows and stagnate the industry for twenty years, Bill was a decent guy.

I DO agree that he's a good person, particularly with the things he has done since Microsoft and plenty of stuff during. But the good in his life didn't come from his business. He was a very dishonorable businessman.

Just like the good in Steve's life came from his business. Incredible works that truly exemplify the Crazy Ones speech.

Steve and Bill were antitheses. Two poles of the same magnet. Bill's good came with people. Steve's good came with business. On the opposite fronts, they were quite despicable.

I wonder if it was only coincidence that they existed in the industry at the same time or if they had to exist to balance each other.

This is the first time I agree with you.

This is a historical moment, truly.


Gates = Great person, despicable businessman.

Jobs = Despicable person, great businessman.

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post #4 of 126
[Whom he had gotten to know. -Ed]
post #5 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galbi View Post

This is the first time I agree with you.

This is a historical moment, truly.


Gates = Great person, despicable businessman.

Jobs = Despicable person, great businessman.



Very true. As of myself, I am looking forward for the event where Steve Ballmer (or, more likely, the one in charge after him), will explain on stage how much Microsoft and Apple care for each other, while a giant screen will display Tim's face, smiling (but moderately, as always with him ..).
post #6 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Well, Steve made great products. Bill made great copies.

Other than the lying to the creator of DOS to get an improbable discount and the theft of Mac OS 1.0 to make Windows and stagnate the industry for twenty years, Bill was a decent guy.

I DO agree that he's a good person, particularly with the things he has done since Microsoft and plenty of stuff during. But the good in his life didn't come from his business. He was a very dishonorable businessman.

Just like the good in Steve's life came from his business. Incredible works that truly exemplify the Crazy Ones speech.

Steve and Bill were antitheses. Two poles of the same magnet. Bill's good came with people. Steve's good came with business. On the opposite fronts, they were quite despicable.

I wonder if it was only coincidence that they existed in the industry at the same time or if they had to exist to balance each other.

From reading the Jobs biography (and from being an Apple customer/Mac fan for the last 27 years), Jobs was not exactly an "honorable businessman" either. Neither of them seem to have been above lying, cheating, and stealing.

There is no doubt that Jobs' eye for aesthetics, good design, and elegance far surpassed Gates complete lack thereof. But trying to extrapolate that further is of questionable utility.
post #7 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Well, Steve made great products. Bill made great copies.

Other than the lying to the creator of DOS to get an improbable discount and the theft of Mac OS 1.0 to make Windows and stagnate the industry for twenty years, Bill was a decent guy.

Don;t bring up Gates lying in a comparison with Jobs. Jobs was caught in several lies including lying to Woz about a sum of money they earned from Atari. Then the claim that he was sterile to avoid paying child support.

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post #8 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Other than the lying to the creator of DOS to get an improbable discount and the theft of Mac OS 1.0 to make Windows and stagnate the industry for twenty years, Bill was a decent guy.

Saying Windows stagnated the industry for 20 years is unfair. It might not have gone the direction you would want, but IT did move a great deal. Apple became a big part of it in the last 10 years, but the 1990s were great years for Microsoft products and IT -- MS Office, Exchange, NT, Win 2k, Back office, web browsers, smart phones were all great products born from the 1990s without Apple being a leading force

Please don't flame me. I am a big apple fan, own multiple iphones, and converted multiple people to Macbooks from Windoze :P
post #9 of 126
Did BG really have to "release" the details about the letter? Strikes me it was a very personal communication between two people that should have stayed private. I imagine SJ would have wanted it to remain private and not in the public domain?

Anyway, hello to Jason Isaacs
post #10 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacInsider2 View Post

Saying Windows stagnated the industry for 20 years is unfair. It might not have gone the direction you would want, but IT did move a great deal. Apple became a big part of it in the last 10 years, but the 1990s were great years for Microsoft products and IT -- MS Office, Exchange, NT, Win 2k, Back office, web browsers, smart phones were all great products born from the 1990s without Apple being a leading force

Please don't flame me. I am a big apple fan, own multiple iphones, and converted multiple people to Macbooks from Windoze :P

The period between the original Mac and Windows 95 (11 years) was pretty atrocious, primarily due to Microsoft fumbling the GUI.
post #11 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacInsider2 View Post

Saying Windows stagnated the industry for 20 years is unfair. It might not have gone the direction you would want, but IT did move a great deal. Apple became a big part of it in the last 10 years, but the 1990s were great years for Microsoft products and IT -- MS Office, Exchange, NT, Win 2k, Back office, web browsers, smart phones were all great products born from the 1990s without Apple being a leading force

Please don't flame me. I am a big apple fan, own multiple iphones, and converted multiple people to Macbooks from Windoze :P

I won't flame you, but "great years for MS" don't equal great years for the industry. Web browsers and smart phones didn't flourish because of MS. They did it in spite of MS. Exchange, NT, Win 2K, etc. are not great moments for the industry. They neither propelled technology nor usability of technology. They were status quo designed for monopoly locking.
post #12 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacInsider2 View Post

Saying Windows stagnated the industry for 20 years is unfair. It might not have gone the direction you would want, but IT did move a great deal. Apple became a big part of it in the last 10 years, but the 1990s were great years for Microsoft products and IT -- MS Office, Exchange, NT, Win 2k, Back office, web browsers, smart phones were all great products born from the 1990s without Apple being a leading force

Please don't flame me. I am a big apple fan, own multiple iphones, and converted multiple people to Macbooks from Windoze :P

MS used Windows and the dominance in the desktop app business (by not porting apps to other OSs) to scuttle or slow organic development of competing products. Some that's just business but governments called it illegal. It was just stopped too late IMO.
post #13 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galbi View Post

...
Gates = Great person, despicable businessman.

Jobs = Despicable person, great businessman.

Cut the bullshit. Jobs was not by any measure a despicable person, Gates is not a saint. As far as their business skills go, Gates was largely driven by his insecurities, and Jobs' genius was simply to make great products.
post #14 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galbi View Post

This is the first time I agree with you.

This is a historical moment, truly.


Gates = Great person, despicable businessman.

Jobs = Despicable person, great businessman.

You know, I've read everything there is to read about Jobs, and watched everything there is to watch about him. I've read what people who worked closely with him, and knew him better than message-board experts said about him. Yet, after all that, the word 'despicable person' to summarize him is not what comes to mind. He made mistakes- yes. So do we all. But I think it says quite a lot about you, that you're willing to throw this kind of vicious and conclusive judgement about his character. Get some damn perspective. I've met many people in my life who I would say are 10x more 'despicable' than Jobs could ever hope to be. Yet I still wouldn't define any of them as a 'despicable person'. That term, for me, is reserves for the purveyors of the most heinous crimes. In my experience, the people that throw these extreme definitions among people, are the ones who are far, far worse. I know alot obout Jobs. I don't know anything about you. Yet simply from your post, and the fact you can call someone like Steve Jobs summarily a 'despicable person' - tells me that I doubt you have the greatest character in the world. It takes a certain kind of person to throw this vitriol and viciousness towards someone with so many qualities. Jobs comes nowhere near that definition if you look at his life as a whole.
post #15 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Don;t bring up Gates lying in a comparison with Jobs. Jobs was caught in several lies including lying to Woz about a sum of money they earned from Atari. Then the claim that he was sterile to avoid paying child support.

Let's wait for an in depth Bill Gates biography, on which he would have absolutely no control whatsoever, to count the sins on both sides.
post #16 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galbi View Post

Gates = Great person, despicable businessman.

Jobs = Despicable person, great businessman.

Really, Gates was/is a good businessman. He played the game well. Jobs was all about products, and sometimes that made good business sense and sometimes it didn't. By "business sense" I of course mean one's goal to build the biggest company and garner the largest market share and earn the highest profits. Gates set out for those goals and achieved them. Jobs didn't and he also achieved them, but business was only a means to an end: getting the product to the people.
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post #17 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galbi View Post

This is the first time I agree with you.

This is a historical moment, truly.


Gates = Great person, despicable businessman.

Jobs = Despicable person, great businessman.

Wow. sounds like you're really a "it's all black or white" kinda guy.
post #18 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

You know, I've read everything there is to read about Jobs, and watched everything there is to watch about him. I've read what people who worked closely with him, and knew him better than message-board experts said about him. Yet, after all that, the word 'despicable person' to summarize him is not what comes to mind. He made mistakes- yes. So do we all. But I think it says quite a lot about you, that you're willing to throw this kind of vicious and conclusive judgement about his character. Get some damn perspective. I've met many people in my life who I would say are 10x more 'despicable' than Jobs could ever hope to be. Yet I still wouldn't define any of them as a 'despicable person'. That term, for me, is reserves for the purveyors of the most heinous crimes. In my experience, the people that throw these extreme definitions among people, are the ones who are far, far worse. I know alot obout Jobs. I don't know anything about you. Yet simply from your post, and the fact you can call someone like Steve Jobs summarily a 'despicable person' - tells me that I doubt you have the greatest character in the world. It takes a certain kind of person to throw this vitriol and viciousness towards someone with so many qualities. Jobs comes nowhere near that definition if you look at his life as a whole.

Good answer.
post #19 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Don;t bring up Gates lying in a comparison with Jobs. Jobs was caught in several lies including lying to Woz about a sum of money they earned from Atari. Then the claim that he was sterile to avoid paying child support.

yeah. and don't forget the time he told Aunt Betty that he didn't steal that pie cooling on the windowsill.
post #20 of 126
I don't know what the word 'apocryphal' means, but I'm sure that it can be used to describe this story.
post #21 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post

I don't know what the word 'apocryphal' means, but I'm sure that it can be used to describe this story.

So you think Bill Gates was lying about having written a letter to Steve? Or, since you "don't know what the word means" but think you can still use it to describe something, would you like to explain what you MEAN by your post?

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Originally Posted by Marvin

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post #22 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galbi View Post

This is the first time I agree with you.

This is a historical moment, truly.


Gates = Great person, despicable businessman.

Jobs = Despicable person, great businessman.

You write like a simpleton. Steve Jobs was one of the most upfront, honest and loyal people I ever had the pleasure to work for twice. He called a spade a spade. He never coddled and if you needed accollades it is then that you butted heads with him.

When you figured out it was all about the company you grew up. Around his kids and wife he was a true gentleman.

He was detached and worked his butt off to rebuild Apple.

If he had been given another decade or more to enjoy his creations the world would have been singing his praises as such a caring man.
post #23 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustav View Post

I won't flame you, but "great years for MS" don't equal great years for the industry. Web browsers and smart phones didn't flourish because of MS. They did it in spite of MS. Exchange, NT, Win 2K, etc. are not great moments for the industry. They neither propelled technology nor usability of technology. They were status quo designed for monopoly locking.

Speaking myself as an IT professional; Well said.
post #24 of 126
I'm certainly no fan of Bill Gates but I don't like history to be misrepresented.

Tim Paterson, who created QDOS for Seattle Computer, never had any problem with Bill Gates. In fact the company made millions with a license they retained to resell DOS under their own name, and Paterson ended up working for Microsoft where I understand he made many millions more.

No such product as "Mac OS 1.0" ever existed and nothing was ever "stolen." In fact Microsoft had a license from Apple that gave them a lot of cover to develop Windows. The way they got the license was typical high-handedness from Gates, but he got it just the same.

Bill's great talent was never for invention, it was for hardball business dealings. He had real no vision but for money and control, which is why the company has such a vision deficit today. Vision was never in the culture. Steve was all about vision first and money second.

In the final analysis, Apple is the better company than Microsoft because vision led to success, rather than expecting it to happen the other way round. I'll bet even Bill knows that now.
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post #25 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by poke View Post

The period between the original Mac and Windows 95 (11 years) was pretty atrocious, primarily due to Microsoft fumbling the GUI.

The greatest thing Bill Gates ever did was to leave Steve Ballmer in charge of Microsoft. God, how I love that guy!!
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post #26 of 126
I wouldn't call Jobs as despicable - his attitude is just... hard for people to understand. He had passion and firm belief in his products that it can seemed be intolerable to some people.

I have read & enjoyed his biography - it was honest look into his life. He made mistakes, some grave ones too but he was trying to fix them in his own way; you can't blame someone for trying and admitting.

On the other hand, Bill Gates is always the charmer. If Jobs ever had that infamous 'reality distortion field', Bill has one too and he's using it. I don't really believe Bill is that interested in curing diseases... unless it'll bring him profits.

Mutual respect? lol More like psychological warfare.

Jobs kept it on his bedside not because he appreciated it but because he decided to let go since he was running out of time. When Larry Page visited him for advice, Jobs almost cursed the guy but didn't; he let it go; knowing full well he had done his job and it's time to leave.

Bill (as well as others) took advantage of Jobs' death to make themselves look good.
post #27 of 126
It would have put him in a better light if years down the road Steve's wife or someone else in the family mentioned this. Bill feeling the need to tell this seems weird and a little creepy.
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post #28 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeejay21 View Post

Mutual respect? lol More like psychological warfare..

They were both members of a very exclusive club. It's not unlike being president. Ex-presidents tend to get along well with each other even if they are from opposing parties because only they share that experience. I suspect it was very much the same with Steve and Bill.
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post #29 of 126
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Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

...even if they are from opposing parties because only they share that experience. I suspect it was very much the same with Steve and Bill.

Not in my view. Otherwise, why would Gates now keeps saying good things about Jobs?

To me, that's because he wants the same treatment from people that has treated Jobs. Gates always want that Jobs celebrity status even when he (Gates) passed away. Gates too wanted to leave a legacy.

Somehow, I got a feeling that Gates is either:

a) trying to make a comeback at Microsoft

or

b) just to gain support for his philanthropy business

or

c) both


With Gates, unless he beats Steve Jobs, it's still an ongoing competition even when Jobs has long passed away.

That's some crazy opinion, yeah but it's my gut feeling talking.
post #30 of 126
What made Jobs such an unusual figure on the technology scene is that he had the implacability of an artist in a field where such values are nearly unheard of.

If you've ever worked with an artist (or been one) you know that it requires supreme faith in one's own vision and a willingness to do whatever is necessary to bring forth that vision. After all, despite self-serving claims of honoring "individuality" and "following your dream", this is a culture that frowns on actually insisting on difference or going against the flow. If you're not willing to push for your unique ideas, you will get precious little support from anyone else.

Of course, the average painter or musician or choreographer is merely butting heads with critics or gallery owners or funders. Jobs took that stance with the larger world of commerce and technology, so it's not surprising that his intransigence is popularly regarded as horrifying monomania. I mean, good God, we barely have any use for stridently independent voices at the most personal and nonprofit levels, it is any wonder that a man that wrote that process across the entire culture would be met with suspicion and hostility?

It's very interesting to note how closely the American adversity to the arts in general, and the popular notion of some worthless fop wasting everyone's time with his self-indulgent doodles in particular, maps to the hostility endlessly directed at Apple. I think Jobs' character, and the priorities that engendered in the company he built, is the reason for that.
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post #31 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

No such product as "Mac OS 1.0" ever existed ...

I certainly have no facts to dispute what you said, however LONG after Bill Gates was given a version of Mac software to begin developing the predecessor to Excel for the Mac; Multiplan, and months after the Macintosh was put on the market, I purchased my Mac 128K and it was running Mac OS version 1.1g.

As an aside, MultiPlan and Mac OS fit on a single 400K floppy. It's been too long to remember if MS Word 1.0 had Mac OS on the 400k floppy it came on.

Man, how bloatware has changed things since.
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post #32 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

....

Bravo! Nice post!

I get that you're an artist yourself (or at least live/work with one for long periods of time)?
post #33 of 126
Dear Steve,

I'm sorry I copied your original ideas, of which, in turn, I created third-rate products with no taste (and I mean that in a big way), made BILLION$ from them and became the richest man in the world.

If it means anything to you....thanks.

Fondly,
Bill

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post #34 of 126
A compliment from someone in the same field is always worth more, because they actually know what they are talking about. A compliment from Gates would mean more to Jobs than from a movie star, or the president (for example).
post #35 of 126
To reach the level business success of either of these two men, you have to have a few skeletons in the closet. Of course Gates borrowed some stuff from the Mac OS, but Jobs borrowed some of it from Xerox.

The way Gates created DOS from a little known OS and marketed it to IBM was pure business genius and quite creative in my opinion...

These two were different, but both were very creative in their own ways...
post #36 of 126
The rampant cynicism on display here (sadly) tells me why most of us are what/where we are, and there aren't more people like SJ and BG.

Say what you will, but these are two human beings that, in their own flawed and beautiful ways, made great things happen to a lot of people.

We will look back 45 years from now -- say, around the 100th anniversary of the birth of these two giants -- and wonder how amazing it was that both of them walked the business landscape at the same time, how their paths were intertwined, and warts and all, left the world a significantly better place.

(Much as I dislike Microsoft) Go, BG!
post #37 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Gates said in that interview that it was strange to have someone as "vibrant" as Jobs die so young.

Certainly it's tragic, but "strange?" This reminds one of nothing so much as Bush Senior's delighted surprise at encountering his first supermarket scanner.

Some of us live in a nation where the overwhelming majority of brilliant, creative men in many fields died of a plague in a single decade. "Strange?" The tragic death of promising men in the prime of life was the norm for more than half my life and I've attended more funerals than all other social occasions combined.

For me, the ultimately irony is that Jobs gay replacement is nonetheless little more than a driven bean counter.

Reading this, I hope you'll forgive me my bitterness. I wish I was able to forget what was lost. I have good days and bad days; this is obviously one of the latter.
post #38 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dickprinter View Post

Dear Steve,

I'm sorry I copied your original ideas, of which, in turn, I created third-rate products with no taste (and I mean that in a big way), made BILLION$ from them and became the richest man in the world.

If it means anything to you....thanks.

Fondly,
Bill

You mean the ideas he swindled from Xerox?
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post #39 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

The rampant cynicism on display here (sadly) tells me why most of us are what/where we are, and there aren't more people like SJ and BG.

Say what you will, but these are two human beings that, in their own flawed and beautiful ways, made great things happen to a lot of people.

We will look back 45 years from now -- say, around the 100th anniversary of the birth of these two giants -- and wonder how amazing it was that both of them walked the business landscape at the same time, how their paths were intertwined, and warts and all, left the world a significantly better place.

(Much as I dislike Microsoft) Go, BG!

Whew! Well said. I owe my livelihood to Windows even more than Macs. The MacII was my first PC back in 1988 with A/UX the first operating system really learned under. The lion's share of my living has been using PCs, even as a mainly Java developer.

Both men played hard, sometimes dirty ball, but you've got to, sometimes, take a step back and look at the Grand Design. It is an awesome time for tech and these two people helped make it happen.
post #40 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

The rampant cynicism on display here (sadly) tells me why most of us are what/where we are, and there aren't more people like SJ and BG.

Say what you will, but these are two human beings that, in their own flawed and beautiful ways, made great things happen to a lot of people.

We will look back 45 years from now -- say, around the 100th anniversary of the birth of these two giants -- and wonder how amazing it was that both of them walked the business landscape at the same time, how their paths were intertwined, and warts and all, left the world a significantly better place.

(Much as I dislike Microsoft) Go, BG!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

A compliment from someone in the same field is always worth more, because they actually know what they are talking about. A compliment from Gates would mean more to Jobs than from a movie star, or the president (for example).

I agree right up until the President. That would be extraordinary recognition.
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