Steve Jobs made quite a few pot shots at Microsoft and Bill Gates in his posthumously published biography by Walter Isaacson. And in the book, Bill Gates makes a few shots back, but we in the media are never happy without a fight. While interviewing Gates on ABC News this Sunday, Christiane Amanpour prodded him with Jobs’s criticisms. Gates responded very graciously.
Here’s the quote from Steve Jobs:
“Bill is basically unimaginative and has never invented anything, which is why I think he’s more comfortable now in philanthropy than technology. He just shamelessly ripped off other people’s ideas.”
And here’s Bill’s response:
“When you think about why is the world better today, the Internet, the personal computer, the phone, the way you can deal with information is just so phenomenal…Over the course of the 30 years we worked together, he said a lot of very nice things about me and he said a lot of tough things. I mean, he faced, several times at Apple, the fact that their products were so premium priced that they literally might not stay in the marketplace. So the fact that we were succeeding with high volume products, including a range of prices, because of the way we worked with multiple companies, it’s tough. So the fact that at various times, he felt beleaguered, he felt like he was the good guy and we were the bad guys, you know, very understandable. I respect Steve. We got to work together. We spurred each other on, even as competitors. None of that bothers me at all.”
Gates handled the question with a good amount of diplomacy, which he has consistently done in recent weeks, and years. It’s difficult to say if he’s actually bothered by the snipes or not. The full interview is below. It also touches on issues like taxing the rich and providing aid to poor countries.