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

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
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 wasn?t differentiating itself from the other platforms?Windows and DOS," he added. "The product line just didn?t 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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 43
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,836member
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 43
    slewisslewis Posts: 2,080member
    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
  • Reply 3 of 43
    thebeatthebeat Posts: 113member
    agreed
  • Reply 4 of 43
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,469member
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 43
    slewisslewis Posts: 2,080member
    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
  • Reply 6 of 43
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,469member
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 43
    tinkertinker Posts: 11member
    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
  • Reply 8 of 43
    eaieai Posts: 417member
    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!
  • Reply 9 of 43
    fletchfletch Posts: 74member
    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 -







  • Reply 10 of 43
    tbagginstbaggins Posts: 2,306member
    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.



    .
  • Reply 11 of 43
    cleverboycleverboy Posts: 84member
    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 taste?they don?t think of original ideas and they don?t bring much culture into their product?they make really third rate products.?
  • Reply 12 of 43
    beowulfbeowulf Posts: 15member
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 43
    mbaynhammbaynham Posts: 534member
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 43
    lfmorrisonlfmorrison Posts: 697member
    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?!
  • Reply 15 of 43
    vinney57vinney57 Posts: 1,162member
    Bill Gates just HATES the 'I'm a PC...' ads. With the two of them on stage together you can see why.
  • Reply 16 of 43
    vulcan1vulcan1 Posts: 56member
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 43
    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?!



  • Reply 18 of 43
    louzerlouzer Posts: 1,054member
    maybe I'm wrong, but don't both these guys show up for this event every year?
  • Reply 19 of 43
    shintocamshintocam Posts: 68member
    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.....
  • Reply 20 of 43
    shaminoshamino Posts: 410member
    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.
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