Gates: Steve Jobs could be an "asshole" at times but was unequalled at motivation and design

Gates: Steve Jobs could be an
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates will be talking about leadership during a taped interview that will be played tomorrow,  July 7th, on CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS show (10 am & 1 pm EDT). During the interview, Gates will bring up the leadership qualities of his rival, Steve Jobs, but also admits that the late Apple co-founder could be "an asshole." Gates did say that no one could match Jobs "in terms of picking talent, hyper-motivating that talent, and having a sense of design of, ‘Oh, this is good. This is not good." He added that Jobs "brought some incredibly positive things along with that toughness."

According to Bloomberg, Gates said that Jobs was able to turn around Apple, which he said was "on a path to die", by "casting spells" when he returned to the company he co-founded in 1997. Jobs' return to Apple led to a string of highly successful product launches starting with the iMac G3 and continuing with the iMac G4, the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad. These were released between 1997 through 2010. The iPhone became the company's biggest seller and one of the most beloved consumer electronic devices in the world. The success of these products led to a very healthy rise in the company's valuation; last year Apple became the first publicly traded U.S. company to be worth $1 trillion dollars.

Gates recently said that the biggest mistake of his career was allowing Android to flourish as the "standard non-Apple platform"


Steve Jobs left Apple in 1985 when his hand-picked successor to replace hin as the company's CEO, John Sculley, won a boardroom battle over the direction of the company. Jobs went on to buy pre-Toy Story Pixar, capitalizing on its success when the computer animation company was sold to Disney. For a number of years, Steve Jobs (and later his estate) was the largest individual owner of Disney stock. Once Disney purchased LucasFilm giving it the rights to the Stars Wars franchise, it meant that Jobs' trust fund was in a position to profit from sales of the Motorola DROID. Motorola licensed the DROID name from George Lucas and paid LucasFilm a royalty for each unit sold. So the more successful the Motorola DROID was, the more money Disney made. And theoretically, that would increase the value of Disney's stock increasing the wealth of the trust. What made this so ironic was that Motorola's DROID was the first true "iPhone killer," and kicked off Androidmania; Apple's co-founder wasn't exactly a fan of Android, calling it a "stolen product."



Gates, currently worth over $107 billion, reminisced about the early days of Microsoft and the males-only culture that flourished at the time. He noted that in the 1970s Microsoft had "a self-selected set of people who were mostly males, I’ll admit, and yes we were pretty tough on each other. And I think sometimes that went too far." The former executive recently admitted that the biggest mistake of his career was allowing Android to become the "standard non-Apple platform" instead of Windows Mobile. He said that this mistake cost Microsoft the $400 billion that he says the open source Android platform is currently worth. "That was a natural thing for Microsoft to win," Gates said.

Microsoft had a second opportunity when it launched Windows Phone in January 2010 and Nokia employed the OS for its Nokia Lumia line of smartphones. But the lack of developer support, leading to the so-called "app gap," was just too much for Microsoft and Nokia to overcome. In 2013 Microsoft bought Nokia Devices and Services for over $7 billion but was unable to make any progress in the global smartphone market. Support for Windows 10 Mobile will end on December 10th and Microsoft has urged users to move on to iOS or Android.

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18 Comments

1. obedchuni

Posts: 333; Member since: Jun 16, 2014

His biggest mistake is still his.

2. cncrim

Posts: 1588; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

Every one is ashole in thier own way.

3. VariableCheapskate

Posts: 131; Member since: May 29, 2019

The lavish PR structure Apple has going for them, and the media wrapped around their finger for it is an example of being good at being an asshole corporation nobody actually likes. Or honestly respects. Tolerate, don't glorify, any corporation you buy products from. Simple as that.

8. mackan84

Posts: 449; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

Sad thing is anyone on this site will have forgotten your words in the next article...

4. Mike88

Posts: 385; Member since: Mar 05, 2019

Tim Cook did the right thing by not walking on his steps and made iPhones what they are today,, the best one can get

5. tedkord

Posts: 17352; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

...from Apple.

6. tedkord

Posts: 17352; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Wait. Disney bought Star Wars in 2012. Jobs passed away in 2011. How exactly was Steve Jobs profiting from the Droid brand?

11. lyndon420

Posts: 6777; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

I'm curious as to how much money ms pulls in every year from their Android License Fees.

13. oldskool50

Posts: 1492; Member since: Mar 29, 2019

In 2013 they were making over $2B a year on the fees. It has dropped considerably since. I believe they make more off Office Mobile subs on Android than they do from fees. When you figure there are 2B devices that run Android and at least 1.6B are phones. Any phone that is using MSFAT or exFAT and other tech from MS is paying good money. At one point they were making as much as $15 per sold device.

12. lyndon420

Posts: 6777; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

Steve's estate was making money from the Droid brand.

16. cmdacos

Posts: 4191; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Nice that they corrected the line but the whole paragraph was built on a lack of understanding by Alan's part. Should have taken out half the article instead to maintain even the slightest bit of integrity.

18. mrcub33

Posts: 11; Member since: Mar 28, 2013

His estate profited

7. LawnBoy

Posts: 188; Member since: Feb 23, 2019

Wozniak is the real brain behind Apple. Jobs was a salesman. Woz was the engineer designing the motherboards and making the computers work.

14. oldskool50

Posts: 1492; Member since: Mar 29, 2019

That was only for the original Apple computers like the Apple II family. Once the Mac came along Woz was let's say less of an importance.

10. pimpin83z

Posts: 541; Member since: Feb 08, 2019

"Gates recently said that the biggest mistake of his career was allowing Android to flourish as the "standard non-Apple platform" LMAO! Hilarious. He didn't "allow" android to flourish. Windows phones were already out of the race in 2011. They made a brief attempt at a comeback in 2013 but then went back to being, well, Windows mobile phones. They were never contenders for being the "standard non-Apple platform".

15. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1418; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

Technically it was Steve Ballmer who allowed Android to flourish as Gates let him run Microsoft and he did so badly. I could imagine Gates would've tried harder to keep Android at bay.

17. Whitedot

Posts: 806; Member since: Sep 26, 2017

Of course its all them fault "lack of developer support" but Microsoft.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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