Bill Gates and Steve Jobs knew each other for over three decades but never quite settled upon a cohesive friendship. Their working relationship began when Microsoft made software in the early 80s for the Apple II PC and Gates would consistently fly down to Cupertino to see what Jobs and Apple were working on. Gates admitted to being put off by Jobs’ pompous attitude and unwavering confidence in his own vision.
Their relationship took a dive for the worse when a furious Jobs accused the Microsoft founder of having “no shame” in ripping off the Macintosh, but Gates responded by claiming that they had both actually ripped it from the Xerox PARC labs, a research institution they were both inspired by. From there, the gloves were off. Jobs famously claimed that Gates was a boring guy and “he’d be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger.” Gates then opined that Jobs was “fundamentally odd” and “weirdly flawed as a human being.”
In a recent interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria Sunday, Gates described his rival as a wizard who “cast spells on people” to help keep Apple afloat during the company’s darkest days. While calling Jobs an “asshole” at times, Gates did not undermine Jobs’ unparalleled abilities.
Jobs was “a good example of ‘don’t do this at home,'” Gates said. But nonetheless, he added, “I have yet to meet any person who in terms of picking talent, hyper-motivating that talent and having a sense of design, of ‘this is good, this is not good.’ So he brought some incredibly positive things along with that toughness.”
Gates said Jobs had a way of turning around failures by “casting spells” both on his own staff and outside observers. Gates dropped a Harry Potter reference when he called himself a “minor wizard” for being able to see through Jobs’ “spells.”
One prominent example: After Jobs’ co-founded Apple, he built a company called NeXT that made an expensive flop of a computer. Still, he managed to bring widespread attention to NeXT and sold the company to Apple in 1996.
It was complete nonsense and yet he mesmerized those people,” Gates said. “Steve is really a singular case where the company was on a path to die and it goes and becomes the most valuable company in the world with some products that are really quite amazing. There aren’t going to be many stories like that.” [via CNN]
Bill Gates is currently the second-richest man in the world behind Jeff Bezos, with an estimated net worth of $90 billion.