Once upon a time partners in business, Steve Jobs (CEO of Apple) and Bill Gates (CEO of Microsoft) are now arch rivals in business. But last night they appeared together for the first time in public in over 10 years, and they kept the mood positive and jovial.
The appearance was held in Carlsbad in southern California at what is called the “D: All Things Digital” conference, reported the USA Today. Instead of Clash of the Titans, the meeting turned out to be Partnership of the Giants — at least for the evening.
“We kept our marriage secret for over a decade,” Jobs said as a joke to the audience, which was wondering if there would be any fisticuffs or verbal abuse between the two tech giants. Both businessmen are multibillionaires. Jobs is known for routinely criticizing Microsoft for merely imitating its rivals and then beating them in a “rush to market” strategy that has less to do with technology and more to do with hard-nosed business.
”What Steve has done is quite phenomenal, [He has taken huge risks and developed products with] incredible taste and eloquence,” Gates is quoted as saying by The Associated Press.
Microsoft has been vastly more successful with its computer business than Apple has, while Apple has revolutionized digital music with its iPod and iTunes, blowing away Microsoft in that sector of the industry.
“Microsoft learned how to partner with people really well. If Apple had a little bit more of that in its DNA, it would have served it extremely well. I don’t think Apple learned that until a few decades later,” Jobs said as reported by Bloomberg. Jobs left Apple contentiously in 1985, but returned to save it from destruction in 1997.
Gates said that people will look back on this period of technological history as one of the great revolutions in new software and device development. Jobs chimed in that while personal computers have proved “resilient” in the marketing sense, the new tech wave will be driven by post-PC devices. “iPhone is one of them,” he said, in reference to Apple’s forthcoming and wildly anticipated new cell phone, due out in June.
Despite being intense and storied rivals, Apple and Microsoft actually have a history of working together. Back in the 1970s, when the whole train was starting to roll, Apple paid Microsoft $31,000 for its software. ”Bill built the first software company in the industry. Bill focused on software before anyone,” Jobs is quoted by the AP.
“It’s been fun to work together. I’d give a lot to have Steve’s tastes. He has intuitive taste for people and products,” Gates said.