Bill Gates can't say enough about his BFF, CEO of the Decade Steve Jobs.
In a CNBC interview on Thursday, Gates offered his considered opinion that Jobs saved Apple from almost certain doom.
When Jobs returned to Cupertino, Gates told CNBC, "Apple was in very tough shape. In fact, most likely it wasn't going to survive." But with his "inspiration" and "great products and design" Jobs, in Gates's opinion, "made Apple back into being an incredible force in doing good things."
Check out the full effusion here (after a short CNBC-supplied ad):
But Gate's affection for Jobs and the products he helped create is no new infatuation - it's a lovefest that has spanned decades. Here's a famous clip of a strikingly boyish Billy praising the Macintosh in no uncertain terms - though a pre-Windows moment:
And then there's his possibly more-famous appearance at Boston Macworld 1997, when Gates appeared by satellite link after a non-turtlenecked Jobs had announced an Apple-Microsoft partnership involving a patent cross-licensing settlement, Microsoft's commitment to Office for the Mac, Apple's acceptance of IE as its default browser, collaboration on Java compatibility, and Microsoft's purchase of $150m of non-voting Apple stock.
After a crowd reaction that blended boos, applause, and catcalls, Gates told the assembled überfanbois that "Some of the most exciting work I've done in my career has been the work I've done with Steve on the Macintosh."
Sure, there have been rough spots in the Gates-Jobs love affair. When the memory-constrained original Mac was first released, for example, Gates sniffed that "Anybody who could write a good application on the 128K Mac deserves a medal."
When Jobs petulantly pouted that Windows stole the Mac's look and feel, Gates countered with "Hey, Steve, just because you broke into Xerox's house before I did and stole the TV doesn't mean that I can't go in later and take the stereo."
And then there was the time when an InfoWorld reporter asked Gates if Microsoft planned to write software for friend Steve's new baby, the NeXT Computer. "Write software for it?" he snapped. "I'll piss on it!"
But like any pair of honeys after a spat, Bill and Steve kept coming back to one another.
And now Bill - with what one can only surmise were shining eyes - tells CNBC that Steve is still number one in those eyes. "He, of all the leaders in the industry that I've worked with," said Gates, "he showed more inspiration and he saved the company."