The iPad has been a staggering success for Apple since its inception in 2009, but if it wasn’t for one loud-mouthed Microsoft employee, the tablet may have never been born. Steve Jobs decided that he would create the device after listening to a Microsoft employee boast about a Windows tablet over dinner. When he got home that night, Steve said, “Fuck this, let’s show him what a tablet really can be.”
The story is just one of a number of revelations discovered in Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography that went on sale earlier this week. British tabloid The Daily Mail points to the story in which Steve revealed where the inspiration for Apple’s iPad came from:
[Bill] Gates was annoyed that the guy kept revealing information about the tablet PC he had developed for Microsoft. “He’s our employee and he’s revealing out intellectual property,” Gates recounted. Jobs was also annoyed, and it had the consequence that Gates feared. As Jobs recalled:
This guy badgered me about how Microsoft was going to completely change the world with this tablet PC software and eliminate all notebook computers, and Apple ought to license his Microsoft software. But he was doing the device all wrong. It had a stylus. As soon as your have a stylus, you’re dead. This dinner was like the tenth time he talked to me about it, and I was so sick of it that I came home and said, “Fuck it, let’s show him what a tablet can really be.”
Jobs went into the office the next day, gathered his team, and said, “I want to make a tablet, and it can’t have a keyboard or a stylus.”
Needless to say the iPad was born shortly afterwards, and two generations later, it has sold a combined total of 39.8 million units. Meanwhile, Microsoft is yet to launch a Windows tablet that has established itself in the market.
So thank you, Microsoft, for our wonderful Apple iPad.