Bill Gates reveals why Warren Buffett was an invaluable source of support during the stormiest period of his career


Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates credits billionaire investor Warren Buffett as one of the people who has played the most instrumental role in his success – including helping him to get through one of the hardest periods in his career.

In an interview last week, Gates said that the 88-year-old Buffett helped him to get through the antitrust lawsuit more than 20 years ago that put Microsoft’s future in jeopardy. Gates said Buffett served as a “great counsel” to his dominant tech company, which the US government sued in 1998 for using its power to destroy the competition and further the monopoly of its Internet Explorer browser.

“The toughest thing that I went through was this antitrust lawsuit, where it didn’t seem very predictable,” Gates said last week at an event hosted by venture capital firm Village Global. “Getting somebody who is successful in another domain, but yet has kind of a business-type mindset … that was a huge gift.”


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Things clearly turned out OK for Gates and Microsoft – and these days, the government has shifted its focus to Google and Facebook – but Gates and Buffett have maintained a steadfast friendship for almost 30 years. The pair often credits each other with sharing best business practices and entrepreneurial tips. Along with Gates’ wife, Melinda, the two billionaires launched the Giving Pledge in 2010 to get other wealthy people to commit to donating more than half of their riches to philanthropy.

The pair’s friendship has transcended business practices as well. The two have been spotted trying out mattresses together, as well as working a shift at a Dairy Queen, a chain that Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway owns.

In the past, Gates has credited Buffett with teaching him to laugh more. Gates once again echoed that sentiment in his interview this past week.

“[Buffett] has a definite way of looking at things, including this idea of how work should be fun,” Gates said in his interview. “He’s made his work so much fun that he works more hours than I do.

In the interview, conducted by Eventbrite cofounder and CEO Julia Hartz, Gates also talked about his intense work schedule in the early days of Microsoft. Gates said he used to work weekends, and didn’t “believe” in vacations. Although he doesn’t mention these work habits to everyone, Gates said he stands behind his “fairly hardcore view” that such hard work may be needed in the early days of a company.

You can watch the full interview with Bill Gates here:

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