In Their Own Words: What Steve Jobs And Bill Gates REALLY Thought About Each Other

steve jobs and bill gates ribalry pbs documentary

Photo: PBS

There’s no relationship in history like that of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.As partners and rivals, they built the personal computing industry with two totally different styles.

Jobs was a working-class kid from California who believed in tight control over all products, and put a premium on design.

Bill Gates was an upper class kid from Washington who believed in open products, and didn’t worry too much about great design.

“Each one thought he was smarter than the other one, but Steve generally treated Bill as someone who was slightly inferior, especially in matters of taste and style,” said early Macintosh employee Andy Hertzfield in Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs bio. He added, “Bill looked down on Steve because he couldn’t actually program.”

That’s a good snapshot of the relationship, but we’ve combed through Isaacson’s book to get a deeper sense of what the men thought of each other.

This was a theme for Jobs. He also said, 'They just ripped us off completely, because Gates has no shame'

To which Gates replied: 'If he believes that, he really has entered into one of his own reality distortion fields.'

When Apple was thinking about buying NeXT, Gates shredded the company and Jobs

Gates said this to Amelio: 'You really think Steve Jobs has anything there? I know his technology, it's nothing but a warmed-over UNIX, and you'll never be able to make it work on your machines. Don't you understand that Steve doesn't know anything about technology? He's just a super salesman. I can't believe you're making such a stupid decision ... He doesn't know anything about engineering, and 99% of what he says and thinks is wrong. What the hell are you buying that garbage for?'

Jobs' ultimate take on Microsoft: It has no taste

'The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste, they have absolutely no taste. I don't mean that in a small way. I mean that in a big way, in the sense that they don't think of original ideas and they don't bring much culture into their product.'

Jobs' closing take on Bill Gates: He's a businessman, not a product guy

'Bill likes to portray himself as a man of the product, but he's really not. He's a businessperson. Winning business was more important than making great products. He ended up the wealthiest guy around, and if that was his goal, then he achieved it. But it's never been my goal, and I wonder, in the end, if it was his goal. I admire him for the company he built--it's impressive--and I enjoyed working with him. He's bright and actually has a good sense of humour.'

After the book came out Gates responded to Jobs ...

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