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History Will Revere Bill Gates and Forget Steve Jobs, Says Author 679

Posted by Soulskill
from the skynet-will-forget-both dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "PC Magazine reports that journalist Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point and Outliers, has stirred up quite a controversy in tech circles with his off-the-cuff remarks that history will remember Bill Gates fondly while Steve Jobs slips into obscurity. Gladwell likened Gates' charitable work to the German armaments maker Oskar Schindler's famous efforts to save his Jewish workers from the gas chambers during World War II, and added that because of Gates there's a reasonable shot we will cure malaria. 'Gates, sure, is the most ruthless capitalist. And then he decides, he wakes up one morning and he says, "Enough." And he steps down, he takes his money, takes it off the table ... and I think, I firmly believe that 50 years from now, he will be remembered for his charitable work,' said Gladwell. 'And of the great entrepreneurs of this era, people will have forgotten Steve Jobs. Who's Steve Jobs again?' For all his dismissal of Jobs' legacy, however, Gladwell remains utterly fascinated with him. 'He was an extraordinarily brilliant businessman and entrepreneur. He was also a self-promoter on a level that we have rarely seen,' said Gladwell. 'What was brilliant about Apple, he understood from the get-go that the key to success in that marketplace was creating a distinctive and powerful and seductive brand.' Gladwell concludes that the most extraordinary moment in the biography of Jobs is when Jobs is on his deathbed and it's over and he knows it. 'And on, I forget, three, four occasions, he refuses the mask because he is unhappy with its design. That's who he was. Right to the very end, he had a set of standards. If he was going to die, dammit, he's going to die with the right kind of oxygen mask. To him it was like making him send his final emails using Windows.'"
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History Will Revere Bill Gates and Forget Steve Jobs, Says Author

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  • error in submission (Score:5, Interesting)

    by alphatel (1450715) * on Sunday June 10, 2012 @07:23AM (#40273539)

    ..it was like making him send his final emails using Windows

    The problem is twofold. First of all, sending an email using Windows is actually better than using a Mac, which treats email like some archaic throwback to the dark ages.
    The second is that Jobs hatred of Windows was as much a blessing as it was a curse. There was nothing wrong with giving people a decent car to drive. So what if it is not god's gift to mankind. It is amazing that Steve did what he did but it was driven by his perception of what is better. Ultimately both were businessmen who did well. One left to focus on something else. Both will be dead. Both will be remembered. And it's unlikely that either will fade.

    • by realityimpaired (1668397) on Sunday June 10, 2012 @07:43AM (#40273645)

      The article is right, though... 50 years from now, Steve Jobs' chief contribution will have been the creation of a design company that hasn't actually come up with a new idea since a couple of years before Jobs' death. I would be surprised if Apple is still in existence in 50 years. Jobs will end up as a footnote in history. I would be equally surprised if Microsoft is still in existence in 50 years, but they do have a better chance because they're ruled by committee. How many people remember what Douglas Engelbart did for computing? This place is populated by geeks, and I'd lay odds that several people reading this don't know what he did, even though modern computers couldn't work the way they do without his contributions. 50 years from now, Jobs will be in the same category.

      Here's the thing... the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is set up as a self-perpetuating trust. They are spending gobs of cash, but they're only spending the interest and are actually profitable despite the amount of money they're spending on charity work. Barring some kind of global economic meltdown orders of magnitude worse than the one in 2008, 50 years from now the Gates Foundation will still be around, and will still be doing charitable work. For that reason alone, Bill Gates will be better remembered by history.

  • I was just discussing this on G+ where it was claimed that Billy boy has wiped out Polio in the third world. To which I said, Uh, No.

    Bill Gates has temporarily suppressed Polio in certain parts of the third world and helped sell it out in the process. In order to get vaccinations you have to provide strong IP protection to Big Pharma. So strong that if your people are dying and you make the medication to save them instead of buying it because you can't afford it that the WTO will end up owning your asshole. Meanwhile, they're not going to get into every nation, which is what it actually takes to eradicate a disease. Instead they are lending a false sense of security while creating a ticking time bomb.

    Meanwhile, the foundation makes for-profit investments in industries literally killing the people they are vaccinating. When caught in this they first announced that they would review their investments for ethics; the next day they took down that press release and put up another one saying that they would not be reviewing their investments' ethical nature because it would be difficult and expensive.

    The Gates Foundation is not and never has been about improving the world. The money that went into its foundation belongs, by rights, to the American people, because Microsoft was found to have illegally abused its monopoly position by the USDoJ, which had a profound effect on essentially every player in the computing industry. However, Bush's dog Ashcroft announced that there would be zero repercussions, and the Gates foundation was founded, and now does the work of Big Pharma and the WTO.

    And of course, let us not forget that Gates is personally, massively invested in pharma; the operation of a nonprofit which was created with illicitly-gained money and which exists to spread the laws desired by Big Pharma is therefore a clear conflict of interest. You may start with the LA Times article "Dark Cloud over Good Works of Gates Foundation" and perform your research from there. Bill Gates has never done anything for the benefit of mankind. If you fell for the Gates Foundation, you need a course in critical thinking in the worst way.

    Anyone who believes that Bill Gates is trying to save the world probably also believed that Larry Ellison just wanted to reduce crime in the USA when he was backing that unified national ID program, too.ï

    (quick comment since I was JUST talking about this and just had to do a bit of edit and reformat, not an appropriated copypasta.)

    • by cellocgw (617879)

      ^This.
      Unfortunately, history is written by the winners, and dead people don't win. Plus these days, history is written by the rich.
      I have to wonder about Gladwell. He started out writing interesting science articles, descended into cherry-picking data to support odd claims, and now this? If it weren't for Jobs, we'd still be running our PCs off the DOS control line (or maybe IBM OS-2.x).

    • If I were the type to drink during the day I'd take a shot every time someone said Big Pharma. Because usually what follows would lead me to drink anyway.

      You do know that there's a generic polio vaccine right?

    • by JakartaDean (834076) on Monday June 11, 2012 @04:47AM (#40281113) Journal

      I was just discussing this on G+ where it was claimed that Billy boy has wiped out Polio in the third world. To which I said, Uh, No.

      Bill Gates has temporarily suppressed Polio in certain parts of the third world and helped sell it out in the process. In order to get vaccinations you have to provide strong IP protection to Big Pharma. So strong that if your people are dying and you make the medication to save them instead of buying it because you can't afford it that the WTO will end up owning your asshole. Meanwhile, they're not going to get into every nation, which is what it actually takes to eradicate a disease. Instead they are lending a false sense of security while creating a ticking time bomb.

      The drive to eradicate polio around the world is sponsored by the WTO, the CDC and Rotary International (oops, I just checked and now Unicef has been added). The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a big donor, contributing at least $1 billion, but they do not call the shots. Further, polio vaccines are not protected by IP laws, you might want to google Salk and Sabin, or even just visit the polio eradication web site. [polioeradication.org] How you got so misinformed I have no idea, but you really should at least conduct a simple fact search on the internet before putting your online name against such poppycock.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 10, 2012 @07:39AM (#40273615)

    In the same way that everyone remember Columbus, but no one remembers his financial supporters, I don't think Gates will be remembered for curing malaria or whatever else he gives money too.
    Leading a successful company just isn't interesting enough for you to be remembered for hundreds of years.

  • by Shoten (260439) on Sunday June 10, 2012 @07:41AM (#40273631)

    Not in the DRC. A friend of mine is a producer for National Geographic, and they've just finished filming a documentary there. Those mosquito nets that Gates is paying to have distributed? Most people use them...as nets to catch fish. This is one of the big problems with non-profit groups. They often seem to be more focused on how hard they are trying than about how effective their actions really are.

    • by Error27 (100234)

      Congo is, of course, a complete mess. You're taking the worst, most difficult example and trying to extrapolate from there. The situation would be far better in Zambia, Rwanda, Uganda or other surrounding countries. Even in the Congo, I doubt that the numbers are that over 50% of the mosquito nets are used for fishing as you claim.

      People do study the effectiveness of different approaches. It doesn't take a genius level intelligence to go through a year later and check that there were fewer reported case

  • by whisper_jeff (680366) on Sunday June 10, 2012 @07:47AM (#40273677)

    He's right - Gates probably will be remembered fondly in time. Gates is using his vast fortune to do a lot of good things now and it will make an already-memorable man more so.

    He is, however, entirely wrong that Jobs will be forgotten. Jobs is, simply put, the most successful CEO in history. I don't think that can even vaguely be debated (at least not intelligently). Some could even argue that his success as a CEO makes him also the most successful _leader_ of all time. Of course, some will argue against that theory. Regardless of your thoughts on it, however, you will be discussing him and thus he will not be forgotten, at least not for many, many generations.

    And, no, I didn't read the article - I refuse to read any article that so obviously utilizes inane controversy to generate page views and bump of ad revenue.

  • by medcalf (68293) on Sunday June 10, 2012 @07:49AM (#40273691) Homepage
    Gates like Rockefeller, and Jobs like Ford. And I suspect each would be content with that.
  • by tirefire (724526) on Sunday June 10, 2012 @08:01AM (#40273773)
    I read Gladwell's book Outliers a few months back. I thought he made some reasonable, if somewhat obvious points, until he went completely off the rails when he discussed differences in math schooling between China and the US.

    In short, he said that the way chinese count gives them an edge in learning calculus, because the chinese say the number 13 as "three and ten", building the number out of simpler, more fundamental numbers, whereas in the US children must learn an entirely new word: "thirteen". He ignored how studying calculus concepts like differentials and integrals at a young age (I think around junior high age) is the norm in China, whereas in the US, students only get a watered-down "pre-calc" in their senior year of high school unless they're really ambitious and they take AP classes in their later teens.

    There's an excellent review of Outliers that was published in The New Republic available here [powells.com], for those with a lugubrious interest in learning precisely why we should ignore Gladwell.
    • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Sunday June 10, 2012 @08:38AM (#40274057)

      ...the chinese say the number 13 as "three and ten", building the number out of simpler, more fundamental numbers, whereas in the US children must learn an entirely new word: "thirteen".

      The etymology of -teen : combining form meaning "ten more than," from O.E. -tene, -tiene, from P.Gmc. *tekhuniz (cf. O.S. -tein, Du. -tien, O.H.G. -zehan, Ger. -zehn, Goth. -taihun), an inflected form of the root of ten

      So thirteen is a stylized form of three and ten, which makes Gladwell's claim even weirder.

  • ugh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by buddyglass (925859) on Sunday June 10, 2012 @08:29AM (#40273997)
    Look at some of the guys history remembers. Thomas Edison? Henry Ford? We don't remember Henry Ford because of the Ford Foundation either. Gladwell seems to think the historical fame of entrepreneurs is based mainly on their charity. Why? Jobs will be remembered not just because he guided Apple to be the most capitalized company ever, but because he was a "character" while doing so. The black sweater and tennis shoes, the hippie past, the dickish behavior behind closed doors, the fact that he was fired then brought back, etc.
  • Malcolm Gladwell is in the pocket of any corporate entity that feels like paying his fees. His game has already been exposed [exiledonline.com]. Don't believe a word he says.
  • by Dan667 (564390) on Sunday June 10, 2012 @01:39PM (#40276447)
    But I also know that andrew carnegie was a jerk. And I expect that is how gates will also be remembered. You cannot buy your way into heaven.

The sooner all the animals are extinct, the sooner we'll find their money. - Ed Bluestone

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