Jobs and Gates

I just spent the last hour and a half watching Steve Jobs and Bill Gates in a rare joint interview at a Wall Street Journal sponsored event in San Diego. It was time very well spent. Both participants take long, long pauses before answering questions, where you can almost see them thinking, “Who is my audience here?”, “Can I unleash our great new idea which is still secret?”, “How can I get the best advantage out of this?”

One selected quote:

Kara: Are you competitors? (About those commercials) I have to admit, I really like PC guy.

Steve: The art of those commercials isn’t to be mean, it’s for those guys to like each other. PC guy is great. PC guy is what makes it work! **Big laughs**

Bill: His mother loves him.

Jobs and Gates – Part 1/7
Jobs and Gates – Part 2/7
Jobs and Gates – Part 3/7
Jobs and Gates – Part 4/7
Jobs and Gates – Part 5/7
Jobs and Gates – Part 6/7

Jobs and Gates – Part 7/7
I have a long history with both Apple and Microsoft over the years. I worked in Russia from 1992 to 1995 as the principal Apple Salesperson in that opening environment.

With Microsoft, my best story is being at the Game Developers’ Conference in San Jose in 2000. That was the year that Microsoft launched the original Xbox. I was at dinner with some non-technical business partners at a nice Italian restaurant across the street from the Fairmount hotel. I don’t remember exactly what I was saying, but I was trashing Microsoft for some decisions they’d made with the Xbox and generally predicting that they’d be out of the market in a couple of years; and I was probably being pretty loud, as I normally am when being bombastic.

Anyway, the diners immediately behind us were getting up to leave and bumped into my chair as they were doing so. I turned around. Oh God. It was Bill Gates and his wife. I was soundly embarrassed. Thank God, the people I was meeting weren’t techies – they didn’t recognize Bill Gates and I was able to go on with the meeting. If they noticed I was quieter and less bombastic, they didn’t mention it.

In my mind, Steve Jobs/Apple has ushered in the bulk of the original thinking in the industry: Apple II, Macintosh, fonts, language support, iMac, Powerbook, OS X, iPod and the upcoming iPhone. But none of these things have come cheaply. They have all been marketed at a premium.

Bill Gates delivers software that replicates what Apple does, but at a much lower price point. PC hardware and software don’t work as well together, but they do work. Worldwide internet communication by the masses is a reality because of Bill Gates. Of these two people, he has both received the bigger paycheck and deserves it.

Leave a Reply