Apple 'an amazing company' says Microsoft's Bill Gates

Posted:
in AAPL Investors edited May 2018
The Microsoft co-founder, Steve Jobs sparring partner, and one-time savior of Apple said that the company in its current incarnation is "amazing" while speaking to the media.

All Things Digital Steve Jobs and Bill Gates


Bill Gates, over the years, has had quite a complicated relationship with Apple. But the man who spent years going toe-to-toe with Steve Jobs in some of the most contentious battles in the history of American business now has effusive praise for his longtime rival.

"It's an amazing company," Gates said on CNBC Monday, in an interview at the Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting. "The multiple's not gigantic, it's not like a tech-speculative company that's still losing money or anything."

"The top tech companies do have a very strong profit position right now," Gates added. "But Apple has the strongest position of all."

The comments were a reference to Warren Buffett's recent investment in Apple; during the interview, Gates was seated next to Buffett and Berkshire's vice chairman, Charlie Munger. Gates, who left Microsoft in 2014 and devotes most of his energies to his foundation, is a Berkshire Hathaway board member.

Buffett, in the same interview, added that the reason for the investment was more about how consumers react to it than any kind of commentary on the quality of the products. In fact, Buffett admitted in the interview that he didn't own an iPhone until someone sent him an iPhone X recently.

"It's the consumer behavior with the product, what they do with it, how it becomes part of their lives, that I observe and primarily reason from," Buffett said. "It has a position in customer's minds, and a utility to them, that's very, very useful, and it's an incredible ecosystem that they've found ways to profit from as they've gone along."

Gates and Apple

The cofounder of Microsoft, during his years in charge of that company, frequently squared off against Apple. They fought for market share, they fought in court, and they battled over larger questions of what the direction that computers would take.

Apple accused Microsoft of ripping off the Macintosh with Windows, while there was even a long-running copyright infringement lawsuit claiming that Microsoft had stolen ideas for graphic user interface elements.

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates


But things weren't always contentious between the two companies. In 1997, shortly after Jobs' return to Apple, he announced a controversial deal in which Microsoft invested $150 million in Apple, agreed to support Office for Mac, make Microsoft Explorer the default browser on Macs, and settle that lawsuit.

In their later years, especially after Gates stepped down as CEO in 2000, he and Jobs would occasionally appear together at conferences and for on-stage interviews, such as at the 2007 D conference.

The Gates/Jobs relationship was the subject of the 1999 TV movie "The Pirates of Silicon Valley"; a Broadway musical about the two of them, "Nerds," was planned in 2016 but cancelled before it was produced.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 51
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,191member
    Please explain why there are these cycles of stories praising Apple, followed by nothing but stories dumping on the company. They sure do seem to come out in lockstep with the highly polarized coverage in the so-called mainstream press.
  • Reply 2 of 51
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,642administrator
    Please explain why there are these cycles of stories praising Apple, followed by nothing but stories dumping on the company. They sure do seem to come out in lockstep with the highly polarized coverage in the so-called mainstream press.
    It is how it has been for at least the last decade, and likely how it always shall be.
    Soliking editor the grateRonnnieOfastasleepjbdragon
  • Reply 3 of 51
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,191member
    Please explain why there are these cycles of stories praising Apple, followed by nothing but stories dumping on the company. They sure do seem to come out in lockstep with the highly polarized coverage in the so-called mainstream press.
    It is how it has been for at least the last decade, and likely how it always shall be.
    The aspect of Dan Dilger’s articles I sort of enjoy is his beating back the mass of negative coverage when every “news” organization insists Apple is days away from imploding. We’ll always have that.
    fotoformatjony0MisterKitpscooter63cornchiplostkiwilolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 51
    stevehsteveh Posts: 480member
    Microsoft's "saving" Apple was hardly done out of altruism, nor did it cost Microsoft anything in the long term.

    In 1997, Microsoft bought 150,000 shares of Apple preferred stock, convertable to common shares of Apple stock at a price of $8.25, redeemable after a three year period, for $150 million. Apple was worth ~ $3B at the time.

    By 2001, they'd converted all of the shares into common stock, netting the company approximately 18.1 million shares. 

    By 2003, they'd sold all of it.

    It was mostly optics.
    NemWanjony0designrequality72521cornchip
  • Reply 5 of 51
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,162member
    Please explain why there are these cycles of stories praising Apple, followed by nothing but stories dumping on the company. They sure do seem to come out in lockstep with the highly polarized coverage in the so-called mainstream press.
    I think Jim Cramer explained it best when he said, “Apple is the most manipulated stock on the market.” Rene Ritchie has an excellent video on YouTube going through all this step-by-step with corroborating video footage and analyst prognostications. It’s also partially Apple’s fault that the stock gets manipulated because of their culture of secrecy. The vaccum of knowledge about Apple will be filled somehow even if it’s lies and bullshit. Because Apple never responds to analysts’s reports these analysts can print whatever the hell they want to about the company and they do so with a vengeance. 
    StrangeDaysjony0cornchipjbdragonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 51
    magman1979magman1979 Posts: 1,135member
    I'm stunned and dismayed that a site like AppleInsider, even in the year 2018, continues to peddle the falsehood that Bill Gates was Apple's saviour! This has been debunked OVER and OVER again, and is a blunt LIE that was peddled by mainstream media in the late 90's whilst Apple was in dire straights.

    Please REMOVE the phrase "and one-time savior of Apple" from the opening statement, it's a blunt and proven lie!
    jony0chasmsocalbriansocalbriananantksundaramMacPropscooter63lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 51
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,000member

    "It's an amazing company," Gates said on CNBC Monday, in an interview at the Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting. "The multiple's not gigantic, it's not like a tech-speculative company that's still losing money or anything."

    "The top tech companies do have a very strong profit position right now," Gates added. "But Apple has the strongest position of all."
    "Gosh, why is it he's talking about profit? I don't remember anyone ever being concerned with Apple profit before, why do all the fanboys talk about profit?" Oh yeah, because profit is the air corporations breathe, and it's the single best metric for measuring their health and survival, that's why.

    Of course other things matter, such as building great product. But anyone who doesn't like talking about profit is either a troll or someone who shouldn't be running businesses.
    edited May 2018 Rayz2016MisterKitpalomineradarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 51
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,652member
    I'm stunned and dismayed that a site like AppleInsider, even in the year 2018, continues to peddle the falsehood that Bill Gates was Apple's saviour! This has been debunked OVER and OVER again, and is a blunt LIE that was peddled by mainstream media in the late 90's whilst Apple was in dire straights.

    Please REMOVE the phrase "and one-time savior of Apple" from the opening statement, it's a blunt and proven lie!
    Apple and Microsoft were battling due to MS' infringement of Quicktime codec.  Apple was also very close to losing it all.  While "Savior" may be a bit melodramatic, I don't expect anything less from the media (including AI) to fluff pieces and claim "that's what everyone does".  

    The reality is that Apple really needed that $150m to prevent going under.  Call it whatever you want, but that money did keep Apple afloat long enough for Steve Jobs to set a clear and profitable course.
    tzm41electrosoftmwhitelmacpscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 51
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 652member
    steveh said:
    Microsoft's "saving" Apple was hardly done out of altruism, nor did it cost Microsoft anything in the long term. ... 
    It was mostly optics.
    It happened when the DOJ was going after MS for abusing its monopoly. I always felt that MS knew that as long as Apple was in business they could point to it and say "See, we're not a monopoly, there is competition." Whether MS "saved" Apple or not is immaterial. It made MS look better by making Apple look stronger. It made developers believe Apple would be around so they would not drop the platform, (which was happening a lot at the time.) It let businesses know that MS Office would be available on the Mac so they would not switch to PCs. There weren't many that used Macs, but they were important to MS for their fight with then DOJ.

    As you said it was all about optics.
    mwhitelmacpalominesocalbrianjbdragonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 51
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,453member
    steveh said:
    Microsoft's "saving" Apple was hardly done out of altruism, nor did it cost Microsoft anything in the long term.

    In 1997, Microsoft bought 150,000 shares of Apple preferred stock, convertable to common shares of Apple stock at a price of $8.25, redeemable after a three year period, for $150 million. Apple was worth ~ $3B at the time.

    By 2001, they'd converted all of the shares into common stock, netting the company approximately 18.1 million shares. 

    By 2003, they'd sold all of it.

    It was mostly optics.
    One of the reasons Microsoft invested in Apple was to make sure Apple survived.  They needed Apple because there were threats of restraint-of-trade suits against Microsoft because of the dominance of Windows and (at the time), Explorer as the default browser.    There were fears the Government was going to get involved. 

    Apple really was in trouble at the time.   There were calls for Apple to either shut down and give the money back to shareholders or sell itself to a company like Sony, which demonstrates how analysts and industry insiders were just as dumb (if not dumber) back then as they are now.

    I've posted this before, but here's some brilliant quotes by these geniuses over the years:

    John C. Dvorak, 1984. “The Macintosh uses an experimental pointing device called a "mouse". There is no evidence that people want to use these things. I don’t want one of these new fangled devices."

    former Apple VP Gaston Bastiaens, January 1996.  “Within the next two months, Sony will acquire Apple. … Sony will be the white knight who will step into the picture."

    Michael Dell, October 1997.  "I'd shut [Apple] down and give the money back to the shareholders."

    Hiawatha Bray, Boston Globe, 1998.  "The iMac will only sell to some of the true believers. The iMac doesn’t include a floppy disk drive for doing file backups or sharing of data. ... The iMac will fail. 

    10/5/2000   Michael S. Malone.  Apple R.I.P.   … “Nevertheless, the bloom is off the rose. The incredible run-up Apple stock has enjoyed since Steve's return is over, and the sheen of success that had enveloped the company has been tarnished.    A temporary setback? Don't be too sure. Unlike, say, Hewlett-Packard, Apple has always been a company that deals poorly with failure. When things go bad at Apple, they go very bad. “

    5/21/2001  Cliff Edwards    Commentary: Sorry, Steve: Here's Why Apple Stores Won't Work. “New retail outlets aren't going to fix Apple's sales “

     12/23/2006 Bill Ray (Mobile)

    “Why the Apple phone will fail, and fail badly”.  It's the Pippin all over again”

     1/14/2007 Matthew Lynn.   Apple iPhone Will Fail in a Late, Defensive Move

    “…Don't let that fool you into thinking that it matters. The big competitors in the mobile-phone industry such as Nokia Oyj and Motorola Inc. won't be whispering nervously into their clamshells over a new threat to their business…

    The iPhone is nothing more than a luxury bauble that will appeal to a few gadget freaks. In terms of its impact on the industry, the iPhone is less relevant”

     

    3/28/2007 John Dvorak.  Apple should pull the plug in the iPhone.   Commentary:  Company risks its reputation in competitive business

    … Now compare that effort and overlay the mobile handset business. This is not an emerging business. In fact it's gone so far that it's in the process of consolidation with probably two players dominating everything, Nokia Corp… and Motorola Inc.” 

    Apple just had two record breaking sales and net-income quarters at a time when the analysts and press claimed the iPhone X wasn't selling.  Apple Services alone, if spun off, would make the Fortune 100 list and it's rarely even mentioned.    Apple's net income in fiscal 2017 was LARGER than their net sales in 2009 and before.  One quarter of Apple's Services revenue is LARGER than annual sales of the entire company before fiscal 2004.    And yet the analysts keep trying to imply that Apple is somehow failing.   Either they're completely stupid or this is clearly stock manipulation.     

    I don't care what the article says - Buffet didn't buy more Apple stock because he saw that customers liked Apple and bought into the eco-system - there's no doubt in my mind that he looked at the numbers, which are extraordinary.  There's a good chance Apple will beat the fiscal 2015 net sales record of $233.715 billion as they're already at $149.44 billion after two quarters.   But having said all that, there is a question of what Apple is going to be ten years from now.   I've predicted for some time that 15 years from now, Apple will be an A.I. and robotics company, but with Siri still being so lame, I'm not so sure anymore.  

    fotoformatperpetual3electrosoftStrangeDaysjonagoldjbdragonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 51
    bellsbells Posts: 127member
    sflocal said:
    I'm stunned and dismayed that a site like AppleInsider, even in the year 2018, continues to peddle the falsehood that Bill Gates was Apple's saviour! This has been debunked OVER and OVER again, and is a blunt LIE that was peddled by mainstream media in the late 90's whilst Apple was in dire straights.

    Please REMOVE the phrase "and one-time savior of Apple" from the opening statement, it's a blunt and proven lie!
    Apple and Microsoft were battling due to MS' infringement of Quicktime codec.  Apple was also very close to losing it all.  While "Savior" may be a bit melodramatic, I don't expect anything less from the media (including AI) to fluff pieces and claim "that's what everyone does".  

    The reality is that Apple really needed that $150m to prevent going under.  Call it whatever you want, but that money did keep Apple afloat long enough for Steve Jobs to set a clear and profitable course.


     Apple needed the money, but a company like  Apple spends that type of money fairly quickly. More importantly it needed Microsoft’s commitment to Internet explorer and word.   At the time Microsoft was threatening to abandon the Mac, and Apple would have a hard time selling Macs without  those programs. The Mac would’ve died without it. And we would’ve never seen the iPod iPhone and iPad . 
    gregg thurmanpalomine
  • Reply 12 of 51
    Despite the back & forth battle between Jobs & Gates it was just business as usual for competing companies. You can have a good friendly relationship with someone, but when it comes to business with that same friend it can becomes war, but they can still have respect for or from their competitors because both are pursuing the same dream, but in a different way. This is also important as well because it makes the competing companies strive to be better then the other which in turn benefits us the customer. Jobs & Gates were a genius in their own rights. Each had ideals & pursued them passionately. It just saddened me that we will never know what Steve Jobs would have pictured for us for the future. Not saying that Apple is not doing a good job now, just would have been great not to lose such a legend & have gotten the chance to know what his idealistic view of the future of Apple was for him. It is nice to have a article that shines praise on Apple every now & then. Apple is held to such high standards that it gets ridiculous & tiring of all the stupid negativity that the news spits out. Apple is not perfect, but what company is. At least Apple try’s it's best to provide quality product for it’s customer that works intuitively. Yes I am a Apple fan, but I am also not blind to their shortcomings. Hope for another glorious 20 years or more for Apple. INC. At least Steve Jobs made some of his dreams come true despite all the hardships & challenges. “He made his mark in the Universe.” 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 51
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,369member
    "The multiple's not gigantic, it's not like a tech-speculative company that's still losing money or anything." 

    Does anyone know what this means?(espessially the ‘multiples’ part)

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 51
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 652member
    knowitall said:
    "The multiple's not gigantic, it's not like a tech-speculative company that's still losing money or anything." 

    Does anyone know what this means?(espessially the ‘multiples’ part)

    Perhaps a reference to Elon Musk. I don't know that any of his companies are profitable yet.
    knowitallSpamSandwichwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 51
    ericthehalfbeeericthehalfbee Posts: 4,078member
    It has a position in customer's minds, and a utility to them, that's very, very useful, and it's an incredible ecosystem that they've found ways to profit from as they've gone along.”

    Buffet gets it. This sentence explains why the iPhone X has done so well, despite the “supposedly” high price. Smartphones have become our primary computing devices and are, for most people, the most useful piece of tech they own. When you make the best smartphone and ecosystem, revenues and profits are bound to follow.
    perpetual3StrangeDaysradarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 51
    charlesatlascharlesatlas Posts: 198member
    knowitall said:
    "The multiple's not gigantic, it's not like a tech-speculative company that's still losing money or anything." 

    Does anyone know what this means?(espessially the ‘multiples’ part)

    Multiples refers to the price to earnings ratio. The rest of it refers to other companies that haven't posted a profit yet still have a lot of investors paying outrageous sums for their stock. Think Uber, Spotify, Twitter, or anything from the dotcom bubble.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 51
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,642administrator
    sflocal said:
    I'm stunned and dismayed that a site like AppleInsider, even in the year 2018, continues to peddle the falsehood that Bill Gates was Apple's saviour! This has been debunked OVER and OVER again, and is a blunt LIE that was peddled by mainstream media in the late 90's whilst Apple was in dire straights.

    Please REMOVE the phrase "and one-time savior of Apple" from the opening statement, it's a blunt and proven lie!
    Apple and Microsoft were battling due to MS' infringement of Quicktime codec.  Apple was also very close to losing it all.  While "Savior" may be a bit melodramatic, I don't expect anything less from the media (including AI) to fluff pieces and claim "that's what everyone does".  

    The reality is that Apple really needed that $150m to prevent going under.  Call it whatever you want, but that money did keep Apple afloat long enough for Steve Jobs to set a clear and profitable course.
    In no way is it a lie, or a "fluff."

    Like it or not, there is no question that the money, the development deal to make sure that Office (and Internet Explorer!) remained on the Mac, plus the cessation of the QuickTime lawsuit saved Apple's ass.
    mwhitepalomine
  • Reply 18 of 51
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,599member
    steveh said:
    Microsoft's "saving" Apple was hardly done out of altruism, nor did it cost Microsoft anything in the long term.

    In 1997, Microsoft bought 150,000 shares of Apple preferred stock, convertable to common shares of Apple stock at a price of $8.25, redeemable after a three year period, for $150 million. Apple was worth ~ $3B at the time.

    By 2001, they'd converted all of the shares into common stock, netting the company approximately 18.1 million shares. 

    By 2003, they'd sold all of it.

    It was mostly optics.

    Yes it may have been short sighted, however, I suspect that part of the deal was that MS had to exit, the agreement most likely had a clause which required MS to sell its stake in Apple after some time or when a milestone was hit. Apple did not want MS holding a vote share in the company too long.
    palomine
  • Reply 19 of 51
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,599member
    zoetmb said:
    steveh said:
    Microsoft's "saving" Apple was hardly done out of altruism, nor did it cost Microsoft anything in the long term.

    In 1997, Microsoft bought 150,000 shares of Apple preferred stock, convertable to common shares of Apple stock at a price of $8.25, redeemable after a three year period, for $150 million. Apple was worth ~ $3B at the time.

    By 2001, they'd converted all of the shares into common stock, netting the company approximately 18.1 million shares. 

    By 2003, they'd sold all of it.

    It was mostly optics.
    One of the reasons Microsoft invested in Apple was to make sure Apple survived.  They needed Apple because there were threats of restraint-of-trade suits against Microsoft because of the dominance of Windows and (at the time), Explorer as the default browser.    There were fears the Government was going to get involved. 

    Apple really was in trouble at the time.   There were calls for Apple to either shut down and give the money back to shareholders or sell itself to a company like Sony, which demonstrates how analysts and industry insiders were just as dumb (if not dumber) back then as they are now.

    predicted for some time that 15 years from now, Apple will be an A.I. and robotics company, but with Siri still being so lame, I'm not so sure anymore.  


    This is something most people forget was going on at the time. MS could not afford for Apple to die, if Apple die MS would have been the only OS other than Unix which very few were using and MS would have been stepped on by governments. Too many time people try to make complex situation simple or simple thing complex. In the case of Apple and MS there was a lot going on. I give Jobs and Gates lots of credit for sitting down and focusing on what was important and working a deal with benefitted everyone involved including consumers.
  • Reply 20 of 51
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,154member
    BubbaTwo said:
    Please explain why there are these cycles of stories praising Apple, followed by nothing but stories dumping on the company. They sure do seem to come out in lockstep with the highly polarized coverage in the so-called mainstream press.
    Geez does everything involving Apple have to be a "conspiracy" with you and other frequent posters on AI??? I suggest that some of you get a life, reevaluate your priorities, and realize that Tech is a Tool and has improved folks life in many areas -- just like a car, air conditioning, better healthcare, etc.

    All the tech companies have ripped each other off at one time or another.  Same goes for automobile manufacturers and every other industry.

    The competition between ALL TECH companies has in turned pushed all the tech companies to come out with better products!  And I concur that in many areas, especially since the introduction of the Iphone, Apple has come out GREAT PRODUCTS!

    Funny how not a single word of your rant actually addresses his post. He made a factual observation that anyone who has even been partially paying attention can confirm. It's not a "conspiracy" to acknowledge that this happens with Apple - a concerted negative media campaign that happens a couple times a year- nothing like that exists with any other tech company. But yeah, because he has enough braincells to observe this, he needs to "get a life" and get on board with your tired, intellectually lazy "all sides are the same!" horse-shit. 
    palominegregg thurmanStrangeDaysericthehalfbeejony0magman1979pscooter63radarthekat
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