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Apple's Jobs, Microsoft's Gates make peace at D conference

post #1 of 44
Thread Starter 
Two of the most influential computer company heads have finally sat down to discuss each other's work, with results that might surprise avid fans of either camp.

Contrary to stereotypes, the Apple and Microsoft founders were far from conflict at the outset of their joint interview with Walt Mossberg at the Wall Street Journal's D5 gathering.

Both opened their portion of the event by praising each other's work. Jobs quickly centered on Gates' central role in the early computer industry as the first to build a company solely around software, rather than depending on customized hardware. "That was huge," Jobs said. "Bill was really focused on software."

Gates returned the favor by centering on Apple's achievements instead of his own, centering on the company's populist approach.

"Apple really pursued the dream of building products that we want to use ourselves," he said. "[Jobs] always seems to figure out where the next industry movement will be. The industry has benefited tremendously from his work."

In fact, the Microsoft chair recounted that his company's shift away from the Mac was spurred more by the ripple effect of Jobs' departure from Apple. Leaving the company had stalled Mac development and given little reason for Microsoft to continue writing apps. "We worried that Apple wasnt differentiating itself from the other platformsWindows and DOS," he added. "The product line just didnt evolve the way it needed to. Certainly not the way it would have if Steve had been there."

Jobs characterized the Apple and Microsoft 1997 link as a ten-year 'marriage' kept secret. He admitted late into the session that one of the Mac maker's key mistakes in its early years was to have dismissed Microsoft's "knack for partnerships," which ultimately formed the backbone of its software-only approach.

Hints of a rift only began to appear half an hour into the event, when Jobs at last began to establish the differences in company philosophy. Both Apple and Microsoft are software companies at heart, he said, but Apple has chosen to build "beautiful software in a beautiful box." Separating hardware and software usually falls apart -- "outside of Windows," he noted.

Differences also arose over the future of handhelds. Gates, whose company has often pushed the concept of the tablet PC, saw future users carrying two general-purpose tablet devices. Jobs instead clung to task-specific devices -- and warned that while there was an "explosion of post-PC" hardware, the computer wasn't yet finished. Where technology would be in five or even ten years wasn't predictable, he claimed. "Five years ago, I never thought there would be maps [on phones]," he commented. "But now there are."

For those seeking product announcements similar to the Apple TV news which surfaced as part of Jobs' solo interview, little was forthcoming. His only allusion to the near future of the firm's products was when held accountable the poor state of .Mac, which Jobs readily admitted was a bad example of an Internet collaboration tool.

"I couldn't agree more [with the assessment]," Jobs confessed. "And we'll make up for lost time in the near future."



And in spite of the apparent disagreements onstage, the overriding tone was one of humor. The obvious parallel between Gates, Jobs, and the "Get a Mac" ad campaign prompted the inevitable association of the two with their respective sides in the comedic TV spots. Jobs stressed that the ads were meant to show the strength of the bond between Macs and PCs. "PC guy is what makes it all work," he said. Gates, however, couldn't help but picture the PC as the underdog.

"PC guy's mother loves him," the Microsoft founder responded.
post #2 of 44
Aww... ain't that sweet.

But semi-seriously, everyone knows that Bill and Steve can get along with each other, but it benefits their companies to create the aura of conflict to keep the short-attention span media interested.

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GOA

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post #3 of 44
I don't recall a time they couldn't get along together....

Seriously though, there never was any conflict between them as individuals, that's just something the press made up.

Sebastian
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post #4 of 44
agreed
post #5 of 44
Well...In The Beginning...

Jobs treated Gates badly. In the days when Apple took off, and Apple hired Gate's company to do software development for them, Gates was very much the secondary character. It's hard to describe.

Only several years later, post IBM, did that change.
post #6 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Well...In The Beginning...

Jobs treated Gates badly. In the days when Apple took off, and Apple hired Gate's company to do software development for them, Gates was very much the secondary character. It's hard to describe.

Only several years later, post IBM, did that change.

Hmm... Steve treated pretty much everyone badly (especially after the Apple II took off), and if you look past his normal behavior in the 70s and 80s there isn't that much of a history of conflict between them. But he and Woz did approach Bill for BASIC for the Apple II, and later, approached him to develop Word for the Macintosh. I believe the Apple vs Microsoft conflicts were with Windows 1.0 and John Sculley, I don't have any information on Steve's thoughts about Win1.0 though. There was also the difference in opinion between Sculley and Bill when it came to licensing the System/Finder software, which Sculley refused to do of course, again, I have no information on Steve's thoughts about this.

Sebastian
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post #7 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slewis View Post

Hmm... Steve treated pretty much everyone badly (especially after the Apple II took off), and if you look past his normal behavior in the 70s and 80s there isn't that much of a history of conflict between them. But he and Woz did approach Bill for BASIC for the Apple II, and later, approached him to develop Word for the Macintosh. I believe the Apple vs Microsoft conflicts were with Windows 1.0 and John Sculley, I don't have any information on Steve's thoughts about Win1.0 though. There was also the difference in opinion between Sculley and Bill when it came to licensing the System/Finder software, which Sculley refused to do of course, again, I have no information on Steve's thoughts about this.

Sebastian

Before Jobs left Apple, he was asked by Gates if Apple would license the OS. MS was competing with IBM, while at the same time, working with them on their OS.

IBM worked on Topview with MS, their version of a windowed OS. MS disagreed with the direction and pace of the program, and so went on to develop Windows. But, before they started on Windows 2, they approached Apple.
post #8 of 44
Good Beatles quote from Steve about the mutual relationship between Bill Gates and himself, as seen to the industry in general...

You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.

I think it is quite important to see these guys have a lot in common via their experience with the industry from a historic perspective, -and yet have the ability to recognize some of the fundamental personal abilities and weaknesses they have injected into "their" respective company DNA.

===
I think they both are being genuine when referring to their "secret marriage".

/k
.
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post #9 of 44
From what I remember of my Apple history, back just before the first Macs were release, Microsoft were working on some word processing software for the Macs, and as a consequence had access to the Mac OS. I believe that it was during this time that Apple found out that Microsoft had started working on Windows (1.0) and the guy they'd been working with at Microsoft with was leading this project. I think Jobs then accused them of stealing the OS.

I can't vouch for the accuracy of this!
post #10 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by eAi View Post

From what I remember of my Apple history, back just before the first Macs were release, Microsoft were working on some word processing software for the Macs, and as a consequence had access to the Mac OS. I believe that it was during this time that Apple found out that Microsoft had started working on Windows (1.0) and the guy they'd been working with at Microsoft with was leading this project. I think Jobs then accused them of stealing the OS.

Source -



post #11 of 44
I have a feeling that Jobs' and Gates' 'respect' for each other is mostly surface-level civility. Deep down, they don't seem to be that impressed with one another.

Back under Gil Amelio, when Apple was searching about for an OS to replace the old MacOS, and was looking at Windows NT (among other hair-raising options), Gates knew that Amelio was also considering Jobs' NeXT OS. Gates reportedly described Jobs to Amelio as being "nothing more than a super salesman" who knew "little about tech, and what little he does know is wrong". Way to try to poison the well there, Billy. And of course it didn't work.

For Jobs' part, he's described Microsoft as having "no taste" and a company that ships "third-rate products". His "icewater in hell" joke at the D conference probably wasn't completely a joke. He likely really does regard Windows as inferior (which, okay, it is- but I think in Jobs' book it's really really inferior).

So why are they nice to each other? Prolly because saying catty things to each other and getting into arguments at a conference is unpleasant and makes them both look bad. Look at how stupid guys like Scott McNealy and Steve Ballmer looked when they crossed the line and got tres nasty in some of their less well thought-out public comments.

Sure, Jobs and Gates do have history in common. But I bet they couldn't care less about each other on a personal level. Too much bruising corporate warfare, especially of the underhanded kind, like when Microsoft was telling Apple to 'knife the baby' (i.e. kill Quicktime) and other ridiculous sheeite.

But its fun to pretend that they're buddies, I guess.

.
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post #12 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

But its fun to pretend that they're buddies, I guess.

It is fun...
[CENTER]
[/CENTER]

I absolutely love this clip that circulates around YouTube.com...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upzKj-1HaKw

"The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no tastethey dont think of original ideas and they dont bring much culture into their productthey make really third rate products.
post #13 of 44
Does anyone have a link to a podcast or video of this in it's entiretey (I know, I can't spell!). I sure would love to see it.
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post #14 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beowulf View Post

Does anyone have a link to a podcast or video of this in it's entiretey (I know, I can't spell!). I sure would love to see it.

if you're on a mac, just right click and you can see if youve spelt it correctly.
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post #15 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbaynham View Post

if you're on a mac, just right click and you can see if youve spelt it correctly.

And if you're on a PC, why aren't you using Firefox?!
post #16 of 44
Bill Gates just HATES the 'I'm a PC...' ads. With the two of them on stage together you can see why.
post #17 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletch View Post

Source -





I thought this was such a brilliant movie! In a way essential, at least for me as a switcher, to get a pretty well described picture of Apple/MS history. iWoz book is also worth to read, though it's more about Woz than about Apple.
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post #18 of 44
IE7 is better than FF.
Quote:
Originally Posted by lfmorrison View Post

And if you're on a PC, why aren't you using Firefox?!
post #19 of 44
maybe I'm wrong, but don't both these guys show up for this event every year?
post #20 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackSummerNight View Post

IE7 is better than FF.

Oh this is going to be fun.

I'll just sit here with my popcorn and watch the replies.....
post #21 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletch View Post

Source -

If the subject really interests you, you should read Fire In The Valley by Paul Freiberger and Michael Swaine. This book was one of the key sources for Pirates Of Silicon Valley and gives a much more accurate picture of the people and events of the time.

According to Swaine (sorry I can't find a reference right now, but this was in one of his columns in Dr. Dobb's Journam), Pirates accurtely captures the personalities of the people involved but gets all of the actual events wrong.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

For Jobs' part, he's described Microsoft as having "no taste" and a company that ships "third-rate products". His "icewater in hell" joke at the D conference probably wasn't completely a joke. He likely really does regard Windows as inferior (which, okay, it is- but I think in Jobs' book it's really really inferior).

Jobs is the CEO of a corporation. Of course he is going to be strongly biassed in favor of his own company's products. And of course he's going to promote his company's products over his competitors' at every opportunity. Anyone not doing this has no business being CEO.

But this doesn't mean he has no respect for MS's products or their people.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

Sure, Jobs and Gates do have history in common. But I bet they couldn't care less about each other on a personal level. Too much bruising corporate warfare, especially of the underhanded kind, like when Microsoft was telling Apple to 'knife the baby' (i.e. kill Quicktime) and other ridiculous sheeite.

But its fun to pretend that they're buddies, I guess.

Of course they're not close personal friends, but to claim that they have an active personal hatred is also silly.

Their respective corporate strategies are just business. Everybody knows (or should know) that. If you value your mental health, you make a point of not taking business decisions personally.
post #22 of 44
Ahhh... Stevie's awesome. I can't get enough of that guy. Bill, as usual, kinda socially inept. Like when Steve tells him, "Let me tell the story".. lol.

As for the personal feeling between them, I think it's more contempt or, rather condescending, than hatred.
post #23 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Louzer View Post

maybe I'm wrong, but don't both these guys show up for this event every year?

The first time together.
post #24 of 44
Ah, your classic frienemies!

That video was great.
post #25 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by shamino View Post

Jobs is the CEO of a corporation.

Holy CRAP! Who knew?!?

Quote:
Of course he is going to be strongly biassed in favor of his own company's products. And of course he's going to promote his company's products over his competitors' at every opportunity. Anyone not doing this has no business being CEO.

Cool. You just earned your second Captain Obvious point of the day. j/k

Quote:
But this doesn't mean he has no respect for MS's products or their people.

Doesn't mean that he does, either. \

I'm sure he respects MS as a competitor (be foolish not to), but in terms of what he thinks of their quality, taste, culture, business tactics, etc., Jobs' comments seem pretty dismissive. Just as Gates' seem to be dismissive of Jobs' technical knowledge and/or intelligence. And that's fine. There's nothing wrong with calling it how you see it, as long as you're not going out of your way to antagonize someone. But from the nature of those comments, and in the context of the personalities involved, it doesn't seem like Jobs' and Gates were "just being CEOs", entirely.

Quote:
Of course they're not close personal friends, but to claim that they have an active personal hatred is also silly.

It would be, which is why I never claimed such a thing. What I did say, based on their comments and actions, is that they probably have a lot less respect for each other than they pretend to. But hatred is a strong word.

Quote:
Their respective corporate strategies are just business. Everybody knows (or should know) that. If you value your mental health, you make a point of not taking business decisions personally.

The problem is, if you've spent decades of your life building up a company, it ceases to be 'just a company' for you... it really is a part of your LIFE. Apple is Steve's baby, Microsoft's is Bill's. There's going to be personal feelings involved to some extent... in fact, it would be weird if there weren't.

.
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post #26 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackSummerNight View Post

IE7 is better than FF.

Maxthon is better than both. At least without plugins. FF has some great plugins for developers.

RE: Steve and Bill.
Steve is a people person. He knows how to work a crowd. He's the cool kid.

Bill is not. He's a techie. He doesn't understand why black turtle-necks and jeans are cool. Why slouching and fidgeting aren't. He has no sense of "style". He needs to go to an acting and/or improv class to learn to pretend to be cool.

- Jasen.
post #27 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasenj1 View Post

Maxthon is better than both.

In terms of asinine user interface, yes, it sure wins.
post #28 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackSummerNight View Post

IE7 is better than FF.

IE7 would've taken a lot longer to show up, if it weren't for FF kicking the living crap out of IE6 so bad. You should be thankful FF exists.

Having used both a ton at work, IE7 is nice, but it hasn't compelled me to abandon Firefox.

.
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post #29 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasenj1 View Post

Maxthon is better than both. At least without plugins. FF has some great plugins for developers.

RE: Steve and Bill.
Steve is a people person. He knows how to work a crowd. He's the cool kid.

Bill is not. He's a techie. He doesn't understand why black turtle-necks and jeans are cool. Why slouching and fidgeting aren't. He has no sense of "style". He needs to go to an acting and/or improv class to learn to pretend to be cool.

- Jasen.

What's scary, is that he likely has.
post #30 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

What's scary, is that he likely has.

Doubtful. His goals have never been to be cool and it seems to be a complete non-factor to him. It's not high school or a popularity contest and being a big geek in this context works anyway.

Vinea
post #31 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

Doubtful. His goals have never been to be cool and it seems to be a complete non-factor to him. It's not high school or a popularity contest and being a big geek in this context works anyway.

Vinea

I do know that he received training in speech giving a few years back.
post #32 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I do know that he received training in speech giving a few years back.

Sure, but that's a little different than trying to learn to pretend to be cool. The guy gives a lot of keynotes so speaking better is a good thing.

Steve's schtick is that he's the coolest geek in the world. Bill's is that he's the richest geek in the world. Both use that perception and image to their advantage.

Vinea
post #33 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

Steve's schtick is that he's the coolest geek in the world. Bill's is that he's the richest geek in the world. Both use that perception and image to their advantage.

And yet Bill somehow manages to come across as uninteresting on stage, while Steve does not.

Seriously, which keynote would you rather be at?

.
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post #34 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by shamino View Post

If the subject really interests you, you should read Fire In The Valley by Paul Freiberger and Michael Swaine. This book was one of the key sources for Pirates Of Silicon Valley and gives a much more accurate picture of the people and events of the time.

According to Swaine (sorry I can't find a reference right now, but this was in one of his columns in Dr. Dobb's Journam), Pirates accurtely captures the personalities of the people involved but gets all of the actual events wrong.
Jobs is the CEO of a corporation. Of course he is going to be strongly biassed in favor of his own company's products. And of course he's going to promote his company's products over his competitors' at every opportunity. Anyone not doing this has no business being CEO.

But this doesn't mean he has no respect for MS's products or their people.
Of course they're not close personal friends, but to claim that they have an active personal hatred is also silly.

Their respective corporate strategies are just business. Everybody knows (or should know) that. If you value your mental health, you make a point of not taking business decisions personally.

Having worked for Steve at NeXT and then Apple his respect for Microsoft(Bill) resided in his business savvy and not the products or talents producing the end results.

No one can deny that Bill was great at cornering OEMs to contracts today wouldn't pass the mustard.

Bill Gates approach to business when Microsoft was first started would not work today.
post #35 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beowulf View Post

Does anyone have a link to a podcast or video of this in it's entiretey (I know, I can't spell!). I sure would love to see it.

Conference videos at the following. The complete interview is in 7 parts (the 8th one is the summarized version)

http://video.allthingsd.com/
post #36 of 44
Well I saw the interview and I have the following thoughts:

It's always been my opinon that Jobs is keeping Gates close....you know what they say about enemies. He still needs MSFT, though less with each passing year. He takes jabs at Windows and M$...both personally and with the marketing campaigns, but generally he's polite and civil to Bill to keep up appearances.

My thought has been for some time that Jobs is doing the same thing to Gates in the 2000's as was done to him in the 1980s: Convincing Gates that Apple is not a threat. Gates lobbied Jobs hard for years as he was concurently stealing the Apple Mac OS UI. Gates lulled jobs and then stuck the knife in and twisted it with Windows.

Then 97 came along, and Jobs went to Bill, his old buddy, and convinced him that the world would be better wiht Apple than without it, and that to keep it around he needed some capital investment. This was step one.

Step two was getting M$ to invest in Mac apps, because Jobs needed them, and M$ saw it could make money. After all, they had invested $150 million, might as well do something with that investment.

Then Apple was reborn, and since 2000 or so, it's been firing on all cylinders. Apple still wasn't talking about competing with M$ directly...no, no.

But then they intro'd the iPod...and Apple took off. Since 2002, Apple has been positively resurgent. M$ is under assault on several different fronts, and Jobs knows it. But he's still convincing Bill that the iPod and iTunes and Mac sales in general are no threat to MSFT.

Of course, the last step is to compete directly, and that began with thje Switch campaign and was continued with the Get a Mac campaign we see today. Vista has been called a Mac ripoff, and there are certainly a lot of complaints about the OS from consumers. Once again, Gates blatantly ripped off elements of the Mac OS....but this time the show may be on the other foot.

Apple is reaching a point where it may be able to engage M$ directly...in fact, it can be said they are doing so, but in a fairly low key way. That will probably stay the same for some time. At the same time though, M$ is facing challeneges from the open source community, bad Windows publicity and the Longhorn debacle, and a quietly surging Apple. Jobs knows it, Gates may not. Apple has made itself a household name with the iPod and iTunes, and is now invading the mobile and home electronics market on top of it.

Gates may not see it, but I Jobs does. In 10 years, you might even see parity or near parity in the platforms. Despite his rhetoric and cute approach on stage, I think Steve has got that dagger ready.
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post #37 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post

In 10 years, you might even see parity or near parity in the platforms. Despite his rhetoric and cute approach on stage, I think Steve has got that dagger ready.

Maybe so, on both counts (platform parity and the dagger). But what I liked about Jobs was his humility vis-a-vis what is coming down the pike, technologically speaking. He seemed to suggest that a great company takes emerging technology and folds it into a palatable menu. And while he admitted that it's hard to see five years into the future, he has cultivated a culture of creativity within his company that allows Apple to be nimble as the landscape shifts.

As much as Jobs might love to see Microsoft stumble in terms of its fiscal hegemony, I take him at his word when he says that Apple is a company that is not so much interested in financial success as it is in creating state of the art products. The latter naturally leads to the former, and the last several years have rewarded this Jobsian philosophy.
post #38 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post

Gates may not see it, but I Jobs does. In 10 years, you might even see parity or near parity in the platforms. Despite his rhetoric and cute approach on stage, I think Steve has got that dagger ready.

I'm sure Gates sees it coming. Microsoft has a culture of being incredibly, almost insanely, paranoid about any and all competition, and that attitude comes from the top.

The real question is, can he do much about it?

Microsoft's power is eroding for a LOT of reasons: the DoJ trial and the actions of the European regulators have forced MS to play nicer (though still not quite 'nice') with others- a lot of the easy 'screw you' contracts are not possible for them anymore; MS's image is in the dumpster due to the aforementioned legal troubles plus Google and Apple making MS look exactly like what they are: a fast follower, not an innovator; all the truly talented people are flocking to Google and the Web 2.0 startups and not Microsoft anymore, creating an MS 'brain drain'; Apple is re-emerging as a credible competitor in the PC space; MS's lucrative monopoly position in business software is beginning to be threatened by web apps; and most of Microsoft's 'side bets' (i.e. their business outside of Office and Windows) do not seem to be paying off.

Gates sees all this, I'm sure, but what can he really do about it? There are a LOT of things that are starting to go wrong for Microsoft, and in all the chaos, I'm sure that Jobs, probably the most opportunistic sonuvagun under the sun, will take advantage. But 'parity within 10 years' is perhaps overstating it. MS's monopoly position took at least that long to create, and they had a tremendous amount of help in doing so, in the form of some incredibly dumb mistakes by IBM, Apple, and others.

Without equivalent help, it'll take longer for MS to fall. I see them as slowly eroding over a very long period of time more than anything else. And at the end of it, they may still be a player... just not the biggest player, anymore.

.
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post #39 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by lfmorrison View Post

And if you're on a PC, why aren't you using Firefox?!

I was going to go on a huge rant about how much I hate Internet Explorer, how insecure it is compared to Firefox, all the great Firefox extensions in the world, how IE7's User Interface is an unintuitive mess, how IE7 doesn't even attempt to comply with W3C standards, the horrors of ActiveX, and generally how screwed up IE7 is....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shintocam View Post

Oh this is going to be fun.

I'll just sit here with my popcorn and watch the replies.....

...but I don't want this guy sitting back with Popcorn watching the show.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

And yet Bill somehow manages to come across as uninteresting on stage, while Steve does not.

Seriously, which keynote would you rather be at?

.

I have CES 2007 and Macworld 2007 in iTunes.... I have never finished watching Bill Gate's keynote because by 20 minutes through... it just blends in with the silence I surround myself with. Usually 7 minutes in I'm only halfway paying any attention and firing off IMs about 50 other things I could be doing and at 20 Minutes 01 Second I just force quit iTunes for no reason other than I can.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post

Gates may not see it, but I Jobs does. In 10 years, you might even see parity or near parity in the platforms. Despite his rhetoric and cute approach on stage, I think Steve has got that dagger ready.

Hmm... that would have to be one hell of a dagger for it to work.

Sebastian
Þ & þ are called "Thorn" & þey represent þe sound you've associated "th" wiþ since þe 13þ or 14þ century. I'm bringing it back.
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Þ & þ are called "Thorn" & þey represent þe sound you've associated "th" wiþ since þe 13þ or 14þ century. I'm bringing it back.
<(=_=)> (>=_=)> <(=_=<) ^(=_=^) (^=_=)^ ^(=_=)^ +(=_=)+
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post #40 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

The first time together.

Nope, they attended together in 2005 too. This, however, was the first time both of them appeared together on-stage for a joint public interview.
-Aayush Arya
Macworld and Apple Matters Author

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-Aayush Arya
Macworld and Apple Matters Author

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