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Business_news The strange love-hate relationship between Bill Gates and Steve Jobs (MSFT, AAPL)

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Steve Jobs, left, and Bill Gates.

Beck Diefenbach/Reuters; Mike Cohen/Getty Images for The New York Times


  • Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates and Apple cofounder Steve Jobs began building their companies right around the same time, and it was a natural catalyst for their rivalry. 
  • While the two founders had periods of civility, at other times, they were at each other’s throats. 
  • Jobs insulted Gates’ taste and imagination, while Gates once described Jobs as “weirdly flawed as a human being.”
  • But the two execs appeared to get along better later in life, and when Jobs died in 2011, Gates said that they “spurred each other on, even as competitors.”
  • Visit business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs never quite got along.

Over the course of 30-plus years, the two went from cautious allies to bitter rivals to something almost approaching friends — sometimes, they were all three at the same time.

It seems unlikely that Apple would be where it is today without Microsoft, or Microsoft without Apple.

Here’s the history of the bizarre relationship between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.

Gates and Steve Jobs weren't always enemies — Microsoft made software early on for the mega-popular Apple II PC, and Gates would routinely fly down to Cupertino to see what Apple was working on." id="bill-gates-and-steve-jobs-werent-always-enemies-microsoft-made-software-early-on-for-the-mega-popular-apple-ii-pc-and-gates-would-routinely-fly-down-to-cupertino-to-see-what-apple-was-working-on-1">

Business_news Bill Gates and Steve Jobs weren’t always enemies — Microsoft made software early on for the mega-popular Apple II PC, and Gates would routinely fly down to Cupertino to see what Apple was working on.

The Apple II computer.


Flickr/Robert Scoble



Source:“Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson

Gates on the possibility of making Microsoft software for the Apple Macintosh computer, with its revolutionary graphical user interface. Gates wasn't particularly impressed with what he saw as a limited platform — or Jobs' attitude." id="in-the-early-80s-jobs-flew-up-to-washington-to-sell-gates-on-the-possibility-of-making-microsoft-software-for-the-apple-macintosh-computer-with-its-revolutionary-graphical-user-interface-gates-wasnt-particularly-impressed-with-what-he-saw-as-a-limited-platform-or-jobs-attitude-2">

Business_news In the early ’80s, Jobs flew up to Washington to sell Gates on the possibility of making Microsoft software for the Apple Macintosh computer, with its revolutionary graphical user interface. Gates wasn’t particularly impressed with what he saw as a limited platform — or Jobs’ attitude.

Steve Jobs, chairman of the board of Apple Computer, leaning on the new Macintosh personal computer following a shareholder’s meeting in Cupertino, California.

AP Photo/Paul Sakuma


Source:“Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson

Gates later said. id="it-was-kind-of-a-weird-seduction-visit-where-steve-was-saying-we-dont-really-need-you-and-were-doing-this-great-thing-and-its-under-the-cover-hes-in-his-steve-jobs-sales-mode-but-kind-of-the-sales-mode-that-also-says-i-dont-need-you-but-i-might-let-you-be-involved-gates-later-said-3">

Business_news “It was kind of a weird seduction visit where Steve was saying we don’t really need you and we’re doing this great thing, and it’s under the cover. He’s in his Steve Jobs sales mode, but kind of the sales mode that also says, ‘I don’t need you, but I might let you be involved,'” Gates later said.

Bill Gates in New Delhi in 2008.

Reuters


Source:Fortune

Gates appeared alongside Jobs in a 1983 video — a " dating game riff screened for apple employees ahead of the macintosh launch. in that video Gates compliments mac saying it captures people imagination. id="still-gates-appeared-alongside-jobs-in-a-1983-video-a-dating-game-riff-screened-for-apple-employees-ahead-of-the-macintoshs-launch-in-that-video-gates-compliments-the-mac-saying-that-it-really-captures-peoples-imagination-4">

Business_news Still, Gates appeared alongside Jobs in a 1983 video — a “Dating game” riff — screened for Apple employees ahead of the Macintosh’s launch. In that video, Gates compliments the Mac, saying that it “really captures people’s imagination.”




YouTube/All Things D



Source:Business Insider

Gates quipped that he had more people working on the Mac than Jobs did." id="microsoft-and-apple-worked-hand-in-hand-for-the-first-few-years-of-the-macintosh-at-one-point-gates-quipped-that-he-had-more-people-working-on-the-mac-than-jobs-did-5">

Business_news Microsoft and Apple worked hand-in-hand for the first few years of the Macintosh. At one point, Gates quipped that he had more people working on the Mac than Jobs did.



Paul Sakuma/AP


Source:Yahoo

Gates and Microsoft of ripping off the Macintosh. But Gates didn't care — he knew that graphical interfaces would be big, and didn't think Apple had the exclusive rights to the idea." id="their-relationship-already-kind-of-rocky-fell-apart-when-microsoft-announced-the-first-version-of-windows-in-1985-a-furious-jobs-accused-gates-and-microsoft-of-ripping-off-the-macintosh-but-gates-didnt-care-he-knew-that-graphical-interfaces-would-be-big-and-didnt-think-apple-had-the-exclusive-rights-to-the-idea-6">

Business_news Their relationship, already kind of rocky, fell apart when Microsoft announced the first version of Windows in 1985. A furious Jobs accused Gates and Microsoft of ripping off the Macintosh. But Gates didn’t care — he knew that graphical interfaces would be big, and didn’t think Apple had the exclusive rights to the idea.

Bill Gates.

Reuters/Jeff Christensen


Source:“Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson

Gates knew full well that Apple took the idea for the graphical interface from the Xerox PARC labs, a research institution they both admired." id="besides-gates-knew-full-well-that-apple-took-the-idea-for-the-graphical-interface-from-the-xerox-parc-labs-a-research-institution-they-both-admired-7">

Business_news Besides, Gates knew full well that Apple took the idea for the graphical interface from the Xerox PARC labs, a research institution they both admired.



REUTERS/Chip East


Source:“Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson

Gates of stealing the idea, he famously answered: " well steve i think there more than one way of looking at it. it like we both had this rich neighbor named xerox and broke into his house to steal the tv set found out that you already stolen id="when-jobs-accused-gates-of-stealing-the-idea-he-famously-answered-well-steve-i-think-theres-more-than-one-way-of-looking-at-it-i-think-its-more-like-we-both-had-this-rich-neighbor-named-xerox-and-i-broke-into-his-house-to-steal-the-tv-set-and-found-out-that-you-had-already-stolen-it-8">

Business_news When Jobs accused Gates of stealing the idea, he famously answered: “Well, Steve, I think there’s more than one way of looking at it. I think it’s more like we both had this rich neighbor named Xerox and I broke into his house to steal the TV set and found out that you had already stolen it.”

Bill Gates.

Jim Davidson/AP


Source:“Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson

Gates has no shame jobs once said. to which replied: he believes that really entered into one of his own reality distortion fields. id="from-there-the-gloves-were-off-between-the-two-founders-they-just-ripped-us-off-completely-because-gates-has-no-shame-jobs-once-said-to-which-gates-replied-if-he-believes-that-he-really-has-entered-into-one-of-his-own-reality-distortion-fields-9">

Business_news From there, the gloves were off between the two founders. “They just ripped us off completely, because Gates has no shame,” Jobs once said. To which Gates replied: “If he believes that, he really has entered into one of his own reality distortion fields.”



Kristy MacDonald/AP


Source:“Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson

Gates was a stick in the mud, far too focused on business. " he be a broader guy if had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when was younger. id="jobs-thought-that-gates-was-a-stick-in-the-mud-far-too-focused-on-business-hed-be-a-broader-guy-if-he-had-dropped-acid-once-or-gone-off-to-an-ashram-when-he-was-younger-10">

Business_news Jobs thought that Gates was a stick in the mud, far too focused on business. “He’d be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger.”



Justin Sullivan/Getty Images


Source:“Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson

Gates respected Jobs' knack for design: " he really never knew much about technology but had an amazing instinct for what works. id="but-gates-respected-jobs-knack-for-design-he-really-never-knew-much-about-technology-but-he-had-an-amazing-instinct-for-what-works-12">

Business_news But Gates respected Jobs’ knack for design: “He really never knew much about technology, but he had an amazing instinct for what works.”



Alessia Pierdomenico / Reuters


Source:“Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson

Business_news In 1985, Steve Jobs resigned from Apple after a power shift to start his own computer company, NeXT. But just because Jobs was no longer working for Microsoft’s biggest competitor, it didn’t improve relations between the two.



AP Images


Source:“Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson

won, " we are going to enter a computer dark ages for about twenty years he told playboy in id="jobs-thought-that-if-next-lost-and-microsoft-windows-won-we-are-going-to-enter-a-computer-dark-ages-for-about-twenty-years-he-told-playboy-in-1985-14">

Business_news Jobs thought that if NeXT lost and Microsoft Windows won, “we are going to enter a computer Dark Ages for about twenty years,” he told Playboy in 1985.

Vittorio Cassoni, from Ing. C. Olivetti & Co., speaking with Steve Jobs at the annual PC Forum in Tucson, Arizona, in 1990.

Ann E. Yow-Dyson/Getty Images


Source:The Telegraph

winning. By the late '80s, it became clear that Microsoft was just about unstoppable on the PC." id="still-windows-was-winning-by-the-late-80s-it-became-clear-that-microsoft-was-just-about-unstoppable-on-the-pc-15">

Business_news Still, Windows was winning. By the late ’80s, it became clear that Microsoft was just about unstoppable on the PC.



AP Photo


Gates microsoft saying that they make products. id="fast-forward-to-1996-when-jobs-appeared-in-a-pbs-documentary-called-triumph-of-the-nerds-and-ripped-into-gates-and-microsoft-saying-that-they-make-third-rate-products-16">

Business_news Fast-forward to 1996, when Jobs appeared in a PBS documentary called “Triumph of the Nerds” and ripped into Gates and Microsoft, saying that they make “third-rate products.”




Lou Dematteis/Reuters



Source:PBS

Business_news Jobs went on in that same documentary: “The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste. They have absolutely no taste. And 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 products.”



Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images


Source:PBS

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