May 16, 2013
An Emotional Bill Gates On Steve Jobs
When both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates began the building of their computer empires, the general public considered them bitter rivals until the day Steve died. Society is strange like that; they often consider two icons (whether they/it be people, cars, beverages, foods, and of course games) rivalries of epic proportion, despite the obviousness that two computer companies could certainly exist in the same time period. You can’t blame them. The people need some blood and carnage to entertain themselves, don’t they?
Both Gates and Jobs respected each other (within their own right) in personal tastes and sheer personality. “We were within a year of the same age, and we were kind of naively optimistic and built big companies. And every fantasy we had about creating products and learning new things – we achieved all of it. And most of it as rivals. But we always retained a certain respect and communication, including even when he was sick.”
Ultimately, Jobs spent much of his time in his final years making design changes to Venus, his large yacht. As Gates puts it, the yacht is what kept Jobs going, rather than admitting defeat to cancer. “He showed me the boat he was working on, and talked about how he’s looking forward to being on it, even though we both knew there was a good chance that wouldn’t happen,” Gates said with Charlie Rose Sunday night.
In many ways, both Gates and Jobs were more teammates (not because they worked together for a period of time) than rivals, always moving to stimulate their creative juices in an industry so competitive for the consumer’s needs. Gates’ Microsoft broke barriers in software technology (as did many others like it), while Jobs’ Apple concentrated more on ergonomic designs, as well as a key defining of its demographic of customers. When you see a Mac, you instantly picture Apple’s light grey insignia lightly pasted on the center of the top of most Apple products. The symbol itself has been the voice of dozens of generations of computer lovers looking for technology that spoke their language, that casual assuring of security and understanding.
Gates casually admitted to Jobs beating Microsoft to the punch with their tablet market. The iPad boom has skyrocketed in popularity in ways that even analysts couldn’t accurately predict, but that success came in light of Apple’s ability to identify a product that people would want. Call it an eye for success, but I call it “Nintendo syndrome.” Or, for common sense, we’ll call it “common sense.”
Nintendo has never released a console unless its basic functions required fans to change the way they played. From the Gameboy Color on up to the somewhat troubled release of their Wii U, Nintendo never stops trying to revolutionize the way gamers see Nintendo. Likewise, Apple has not stopped trying to revolutionize the way people sees computer hardware.
That revolution has seen the computer (of which 50 years ago was ergonomically unpleasing to the general population) in nearly every home in the US in some shape or form.
Kudos, Bill Gates. We’ll remember Steve Jobs for many years to come.