Thursday, May 31, 2007

Gates vs. Jobs: the face-to-face

After Apple's CEO Steve Jobs said at D5 (check the entire interview at Engadget) that allowing iTunes to run on Windows was like "giving a glass of ice water to somebody in hell", he was still able to share the stage with Microsoft's Chairman Bill Gates and have a friendly conversation/interview (check out the highlight video here).

The session started with a couple of nostalgic videos on the two businessmen when they were still able to work together.

The discussion then began with a simple challenge: each one would talk on what the other's biggest contribution was.

Jobs started by stating that the Microsoft top man "built the first software company in the industry" and that "the business model turned out to be one that worked very well for the industry. Bill was really focused on software before anyone else had a clue."

Gates first replied by stating that he is not in fact the author of the popular Fake Steve Jobs satire blog and then praised Jobs for pursuing the idea that the computer could really be a mass market idea and then for betting heavy again on the Mac.

After this nice exchange of complements, the conversation was not so peaceful. From this point on, subtle jokes and remarks were being pulled from both sides, as expected. The discussion on the "I'm a Mac and I'm a PC" ads was inevitable :-)

But all in all, it was a nice interview and it was nice to see that the couple that was able to "keep the marriage a secret for over a decade now" (Steve Jobs' words) doesn't regret anything about their difficult friendship/competition.

Jobs even ended the talk with a phrase of the "Two of Us" song by the Beatles: "You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead".

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