Great minds may think alike, but when those minds are rivaling captains of industry, they can clash. For reference, see the past relationship between Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Apple tycoon Steve Jobs.
Both Gates and Jobs made history as two of the most prominent leaders and innovators of the tech revolution. Though Jobs died in 2011, his legacy has loomed large, and the products he created while CEO of Apple, from the iPhone to the iPad, per Time, are staples of modern-day life. Meanwhile, Gates, who dropped out of Harvard to found Microsoft (and essentially create the modern-day computer), isn’t exactly cut from a different cloth. As anyone familiar with Jobs’ biography might know (or as you might guess), the stories of these two tech greats are intrinsically entwined.
As Jobs’ biographer Walter Isaacson detailed in his 2011 book “Steve Jobs,” both billionaire visionaries seemed to admire each other over the years, but would more likely categorize each other as enemies (or frenemies?). That being said, it wasn’t always that way. Jobs and Gates’ relationship had an interesting dynamic in the beginning. In fact, the two innovators, whose products became such rivals that we got commercials out of it, we’re once … friends and even creative partners? Keep on scrolling for more details.
Bill Gates and Steve Jobs started out as friends
So, what should you know about Bill Gates and Steve Jobs’ relationship? The tech magnates started out as pals and, in a way, collaborators. According to Business Insider, Gates’ company Microsoft helped craft software for Jobs to use on one of his most popular computers, the Apple II PC, which was released in 1977. According to Ars Technica, Jobs and Steve Wozniak only sold 175 units of the Apple I motherboard, so they needed a software boost. Which Gates (though Microsoft had only been founded two years prior) possessed. They helped each other, and Gates, per BI, once “quipped that he had more people working on the Mac than Jobs did.”
But things soon went sour, and in the ’80s, their meetings became more contentious. “It was kind of a weird seduction visit,” Gates said on one rendezvous, per Fortune. “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.”
Things finally came to a head after Gates released Windows in 1985. Jobs accused Gates of plagiarizing the idea, to which Gates said, per Walter Isaacson’s book, “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.”
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