Bill Gates on Apple, the iPad, and Steve Jobs – “We enjoyed sparring with each other”

Fri, Jun 4, 2010


Bill Gates and his father recently sat down for an interview with CNN’s Larry King, where the trio touched upon a number of topics. When asked if he was jealous of Apple’s recent success, Gates responded:

No, Apple got started about 3 years after Microsoft and they’ve had some huge ups and downs.. Microsoft wrote more applications for the Macintosh than any other company and so we both compete, Windows vs. Mac… so it’s great to see tech companies who are very successful… .there’s room for lots to be successful. And we’ll compete, and that’s a great great thing. You know, they’ve done well. You know there was a period where it looked like they wouldn’t even survive, so┬áthe ups and downs of technology are incredible.

Next, King asked Gates if he liked Jobs, to which Gates answered:

Absolutely. Steve’s brilliant, done very good work, the times we have gotten to work together, intensely on some Apple 2 work and then the Macintosh , we enjoyed sparring with each other. We have different strengths, but we both love the industry.

Regarding the iPad, Gates shares the opinion of his ole’ buddy Steve Ballmer in that he’s not a fan of the device because of its substandard data input.

We’re all trying to get to something that you just love to take to a meeting and use and it [the iPad] is not quite there yet. You need to have input. You need to take notes and edit things. Microsoft and a bunch of other companies are working on getting that final, ultimate product… It still isn’t the device that I’d take to a meeting because it has no input.

Gates went on to explain that the perfect device for him is one “where I can use the pen, where I can use voice” and that “there are solutions in the labs that are starting to look very good.”

Gates may be right on using the iPad in a business meeting, but he completely misses the point – the iPad wasn’t designed to be something you just love to take into a meeting. Sure, you can take notes on the device, and it performs just fine when you hook it up to a physical keyboard, but the stomping grounds of a well designed tablet lie well beyond corporate board rooms. The multipurpose nature of the iPad embodies that idea. Gates’ view of the tablet as solely an electronic notepad helps underscore the lack of vision that’s plagued Microsoft over the past couple of years.


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3 Comments For This Post

  1. Jared Says:

    Right. What’s wrong with a netbook or notebook to take notes on? Or even physical paper and pen/pencil?

  2. Guest Says:

    Agree with Jared – amazingly, paper and a pen still does the trick.

  3. Tom Says:

    Right.. reminds me of that tale about the cold war space race era… The USA spent millions trying to devise a pen that worked in zero G, so Mr Bic came up with the ball point pen.

    The Russians? They took pencils…..

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