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Bill Gates Opens Up About Steve Jobs 294

Nerval's Lobster writes "Former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates displayed a bit of emotion when talking to CBS's 60 Minutes about Steve Jobs. The interview didn't focus entirely on the relationship between the two men, with most of its running time devoted instead to Gates's charitable efforts. But when the conversation shifted to their last meeting before Jobs's death from cancer in 2011, Gates—normally so cerebral—seemed a bit sad. 'When he was sick I got to go down and spend time with him,' Gates said, describing their meeting as 'forward looking.' Jobs spent a portion of their time together showing off designs for his yacht, which he would never see completed—something that Gates defended when the interviewer seemed a little bit incredulous. 'Thinking about your potential mortality isn't very constructive,' he said. Gates also praised Steve Jobs's marketing and design skills: 'He understood, he had an intuitive sense for marketing that was amazing.' In contrast to his subtle—and not so subtle—digs at the iPad over the years, Gates conceded that Apple had 'put the pieces together in a way that succeeded' with regard to tablets. Gates's magnanimity toward his former rival and Apple is a reflection, perhaps, of his current position in life: it's been nearly five years since his last full-time day at Microsoft, and all of his efforts seem focused on his philanthropic endeavors. He simply has no reason to rip a rival limb from limb in the same way he did as Microsoft CEO."
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Bill Gates Opens Up About Steve Jobs

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  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Monday May 13, 2013 @01:20PM (#43711895)

    We hear and see stories about bitter company rivals. However at the same time they are also partners.
    For the most part it is business it isn't personal.
    In areas where they are competing in the same spot, they will be quite bitter rivals, however if a different product supports the other company they will be best friends.

    Microsoft Fought OS's while partnered in Office.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 13, 2013 @01:20PM (#43711897)

    Thinking about your mortality is possibly the MOST constructive thing you can do, at least as far as not being an a-hole is concerned.

  • by SJHillman ( 1966756 ) on Monday May 13, 2013 @01:27PM (#43712007)

    You see the same thing among lawyers... they may be bitter rivals in court, but then go out for drinks and have a few laughs afterwards. You have to figure two people in direct competition will probably have more in common with each other than with another random person. Just because they are professional rivals doesn't mean they can't have a great personal relationship.

  • Re:Oh come on Bill (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 0racle ( 667029 ) on Monday May 13, 2013 @01:29PM (#43712027)
    Are you suggesting wallowing in misery was a better way to spend their time together?
  • by IWantMoreSpamPlease ( 571972 ) on Monday May 13, 2013 @01:34PM (#43712083) Homepage Journal

    You never talk bad (in public) about a rival who is dead. It's poor form.

    Had Jobs still been alive, things would be different.

  • by femtobyte ( 710429 ) on Monday May 13, 2013 @01:34PM (#43712099)

    In addition to both being fellow business competitors, Jobs and Gates are also both highly successful sociopaths. Gates knows quite well that emulating compassion and humanity for the media is a savvy move; I'm sure Jobs would have done the same for him, had the situation been reversed.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 13, 2013 @01:35PM (#43712105)

    "kill the baby" but nothing personal right? FYI, it is personal when you put people out of work and that is what Microsoft has done and worked to do over and over so they could save their own business, products and position in the market. There is next to no partnership with Microsoft which ends well for the other company because everything they do and have done has been about making sure Microsoft controls and owns the market. They don't provide software for a competing product until it is so very painfully obvious they can't own that market and even then those products are slow to market and less feature complete compared to their Windows based counter parts.

    As for these comments about Steve Jobs not being venomous rivalry backed, well Bill is a good marketing man and knows he'd only harm is position if he badmouthed Jobs. Jobs is gone, he's being held high in the press and public eye since his passing and any good PR person knows you don't hit a dead guy in public when he's liked that much.

  • by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Monday May 13, 2013 @01:42PM (#43712201)

    It's not just a matter of bad form. It's just a matter of something most people would never want to do, Gates included. It's exciting and driving to compete with a rival and to egg that rivalry on. When a respected rival passes -- especially one who was part of this back and forth spurring on for decades through something as amazing as the revolution of computing -- it's a huge personal loss. It's something and someone you miss.

  • by Dr. Spork ( 142693 ) on Monday May 13, 2013 @01:45PM (#43712243)
    It's not just that. Talking about how everything good at Apple came from the brilliant mind of a now-dead guy actually is a dig at (present-day) Apple. It serves to undermine confidence in Apple's prospects, and feeds the meme of Apple's inevitable post-Jobs decline, without explicitly stating that.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 13, 2013 @01:49PM (#43712285)

    Despite the business rivalry Gates and Jobs seemed to get along well in public, at least when the cameras were rolling. I've seen interviews with them on stage together and they seemed respectful of each other.

    Most people don't want to speak ill of the deceased, even if they were rivals. Of course Richard Stallman is an exception. He was badmouthing Jobs before the man's corpse was cold. RMS has zero class, he could learn a thing or two from Gates.

  • by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Monday May 13, 2013 @01:51PM (#43712307)

    I've long been fascinated by the evolution of Bill Gates. I cut my teeth in this field as an engineer at Netscape, where I watched along with the rest of the industry as Microsoft did what they did to Netscape and all of the following legal proceedings and DoJ activities ensued. While I still respected the story and beginning of Gates (reading everything I could about him, when I was a teenager), I hated Mr. Borg with a passion and everything about Microsoft. It was what drove me to the arms of Linux and, ultimately, Unix (and my career therein).

    Then, he decided to move on from just leading a tech and business army and raking in cash to making finding a way to properly use that cash for the betterment of man. We saw a completely different side of him. Perhaps a new side of the guy that game with maturity and wisdom. I gained a completely new respect for him. I still disagree with some of his views, completely disagree with some of his former business practices, am frustrated and dismayed with a lot of Microsoft's current endeavors and decisions . . . but as a man -- I've come to have a lot of admiration for what he's doing. He's a great example for the rest of the world's wealthiest in doing something truly constructive and beneficial with their unimaginable wealth.

    Americans love a success story and we love a story of personal redemption. The only thing we love more than hating someone is them turning things around and giving us reasons to be in their corner. This is one of those stories. And, personally, I find his activities a solid reminder in my own personal life to remember how fortunate I am in my career. As a direct result, I make a point of doing what I can to support things like Engineers Without Borders. I bet many other engineers out there have found the same respect and inspiration.

    I also find it sad that, for as inspiring as I found Jobs as far as business and design, there is simply no similar compelling feeling in that same way, after his passing.

  • by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Monday May 13, 2013 @01:55PM (#43712351)

    I understand the cynicism, but I don't see what benefit there is to an uber-billionaire who no longer runs anything except a philanthropic organization where he gives away his own money, to worry about "emulating compassion and humanity for the media".

    Ultimately, I don't care, either. Actions speak louder than words. Emulate whatever the fuck you want, as long as you're giving away hundreds of millions of dollars to solve fundamental problems in the world and try to build a structure with which your money will provide the most long-term benefits continued far into the future.

  • by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Monday May 13, 2013 @01:56PM (#43712365)

    Thinking about your mortality is valuable when you have all the time in the world ahead of you. Thinking about it when it is an immediate certainty is a detriment.

  • Re:Oh come on Bill (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GLMDesigns ( 2044134 ) on Monday May 13, 2013 @01:57PM (#43712369)
    What is so wrong about a yacht? If he was looking at the design for a garden would you still spew such venom? He was designing something he found beautiful. Maybe he was keeping hope alive that he might sail it around the world; imagining the sunrises and the ocean sky. Is that so much different than you and I?

    Oh. I got it. He's got money. Therefore he's evil.
  • by SirGarlon ( 845873 ) on Monday May 13, 2013 @02:00PM (#43712401)

    If you look at what Bill Gates has been doing with his time and money [] since he quit Microsoft, it's hard to make the case that he is lacking compassion and humanity. He is doing more and higher-profile philanthropy than any other billionaire I can think of, and doing a lot more good in the world than an average citizen like me is in a position to.

    Which is not to say he's a saint. How he got his money is certainly open to criticism: I certainly disapprove of that.

    If you feel {compelled, qualified, entitled} to assess the man's character, please consider all the facts. Myself, I don't really know the guy.

  • by tnk1 ( 899206 ) on Monday May 13, 2013 @02:18PM (#43712631)

    I prefer Bill Gates trying and perhaps failing at charity in an attempt to be a decent person to Bill Gates trying and succeeding in being a douchebag.

    Actually operating a charity is not as easy as you think it is. It's not just a matter of wrapping up some food and sending it to starving kids in Ethiopia. If that were the case, we'd have solved hunger long ago, as we already make more than enough food for every person on Earth.

  • by tnk1 ( 899206 ) on Monday May 13, 2013 @02:36PM (#43712825)

    RMS is stone-cold focused. Not saying that makes him very comfortable to be around, but you always know he's being sincere.

  • by KingMotley ( 944240 ) on Monday May 13, 2013 @02:56PM (#43713003) Journal

    That might be true, if he actually had heirs. Mr. Gates has already stated that he is not leaving anything to his kids, and he has enough money to last him until he dies, so it kind of makes your argument kind of silly.

  • by JohnnyMindcrime ( 2487092 ) on Monday May 13, 2013 @03:16PM (#43713179)

    Gates had stated through his entire career at Microsoft that he would give most of his fortune to charity and he does appear to be doing that,

    I do not wish to speak ill of the dead but Jobs was not renowned for any charitable works and certainly made little mention of them.

  • by Quila ( 201335 ) on Monday May 13, 2013 @03:30PM (#43713287)

    Or, marrying a woman who probably told him "you're a dick, fix it." Won't be the first time a guy was whipped into shape by a good woman.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 13, 2013 @03:35PM (#43713349)

    I wasn't really focused on his concern for his own health or even mortality. I was saying that he was quite the a-hole.

    In fact I'll go on to say that for all the cool gadgets he brought to our stores a few years earlier than they would have arrived without his help, the world would have been a better place with out his colossal assholism even if we had to deal with out rounded corners.

  • by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Monday May 13, 2013 @03:56PM (#43713553)

    Did someone ask you to care? The fact that rather than skip over it, you took time to point out how much you don't care says something about you though.

  • by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Monday May 13, 2013 @04:06PM (#43713635)

    Considering that he has more money than anyone could spend in ten lifetimes, Gates' philanthropy is like you buying a hamburger for a homeless man. I'm just not impressed. I'm far more impressed with the hungry man who shares half that hamburger with another homeless man.

    You do realise that no-one is doing anything to try and impress you. Your attempts to judge the worthiness of other people's charity is not only unseemly, it's irrelevant.

  • by HornWumpus ( 783565 ) on Monday May 13, 2013 @04:21PM (#43713797)

    Great fortunes are curses onto the kids.

    Gates knows that. He doesn't want his kids/grandkids turning out like a Hilton, Getty, Rockefeller or Kennedy.

  • by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Monday May 13, 2013 @05:14PM (#43714309)

    I'm not the one trying to make a song and dance over "I don't care".

    So no, there is no irony. Just your hatred of a dead man.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 13, 2013 @08:30PM (#43715821)

    Bill Gates will be remembered as a Nobel Prize winning humanitarian

    JD Rockefeller Sr. is still reviled because of his merciless monopolism, despite granting his fortune to charity.

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