Microsoft founder and renowned, mega-rich philanthropist Bill Gates recently sat down with The Telegraph to talk about current affairs and his relationship with the late Steve Jobs. Despite their professional rivalry, Jobs and Gates had been good friends for many years.
Gates revealed in the interview that he sent Jobs a personal letter that was kept by his bedside during his last days.
Some months before Jobs died, Gates paid him a long visit. “We spent literally hours reminiscing and talking about the future.” Later, with his old adversary’s death imminent, he wrote to him. “I told Steve about how he should feel great about what he had done and the company he had built. I wrote about his kids, whom I had got to know.”
That last gesture was not, he says, conciliatory. “There was no peace to make. We were not at war. We made great products, and competition was always a positive thing. There was no [cause for] forgiveness.” After Jobs’s death, Gates received a phone call from his wife, Laurene. “She said; ‘Look, this biography really doesn’t paint a picture of the mutual respect you had.’ And she said he’d appreciated my letter and kept it by his bed.”
Jobs was critical of Gates’ work in public, famously saying that iTunes for Windows was like “giving a glass of ice water to somebody in hell” at the All Things D conference in 2007. Despite all the censure, Gates and Jobs respected one another:
“Steve was an incredible genius who contributed immensely to the field I was in. We had periods, like the early Macintosh, when we had more people working on it than they did. And then we were competitors. The personal computers I worked on had a vastly higher [market] share than Apple until really the last five or six years, where Steve’s very good work on the Mac and on iPhones and iPads did extremely well. It’s quite an achievement, and we enjoyed each [other’s work].”
You can read the full interview with Gates over at The Telegraph.