Bill & Jobs' excellent adventure: Steve's tech looked better than mine

Design eye for the QWERTY guy


“We did tablets – lots of tablets – well before Apple did, but they put these pieces together in a way that succeeded.”

Bill Gates had a few kind words for old rival Steve Jobs at the weekend, conceding Apple’s late co-founder had a gift for design and admitting that Microsoft had missed its opportunities on tablets.

In an interview on US TV on Sunday, Gates said the one thing his old rival possessed that he – Gates – lacked was an eye for design and marketing.

During the interview Gates also spoke about meeting Jobs while Apple’s chief and co-founder was dying. With tear in his eye, Gates said the two men had talked about what they’d learned during their careers and about their families.

During their decades-long rivalry, Jobs and Gates competed on their versions of the GUI-front ended home and office computer. Of course, there were moments of collaboration. In 1997, Microsoft under Gates pumped $150m into Apple to develop Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer for the Mac.

Jobs died in October 2011 from pancreatic cancer.

Pressed on where Jobs was better, Microsoft’s co-founder said: "His sense of design - that everything had to fit a certain aesthetic. The fact that he, with as little engineering background as he had, it shows that design can lead you in a good direction. And so phenomenal products came out of it.

“He knew about brand. He had an intuitive sense of marketing - that was amazing.”

Veteran US TV interviewer Charlie Rose pressed Gates on why Microsoft had missed the boat on tablets while Apple scored a home run with its iPad, prompting Gates to exclaim: “We did tablets – lots of tablets – well before Apple did..." He added: "But they put these pieces together in a way that succeeded.”

It was Gates himself in November 2001 who unveiled the Windows PC tablet and prophesised that fondleslabs would become the most popular form of PC within five years. However, it was the iPad, first released in 2010, that dominates.

Earlier this month, Gates criticised Apple’s iPad, saying its users were frustrated because they can’t use Microsoft’s Office on the fruity slab. The solution? Microsoft's new Windows 8-based Surface and Surface Pro tablets.

“A lot of those users are frustrated because they can't type, they can't create documents, they don't have Office there," Gates told CNBC of the iPad. According to Gates, Windows 8 “takes the benefits of a tablet and the benefits of a PC and it’s able to support both.”

Sales of Surface, Surface Pro and other Windows 8-based kit have been sluggish, with analysts IDC claiming confusion over Windows 8 actually hurt PC sales at the start of 2013. Microsoft last week revealed it’s planning major changes to key Windows 8 features following "customer feedback". ®


Other stories you might like

  • Microsoft postpones shift to New Commerce Experience subscriptions
    The whiff of rebellion among Cloud Solution Providers is getting stronger

    Microsoft has indefinitely postponed the date on which its Cloud Solution Providers (CSPs) will be required to sell software and services licences on new terms.

    Those new terms are delivered under the banner of the New Commerce Experience (NCE). NCE is intended to make perpetual licences a thing of the past and prioritizes fixed-term subscriptions to cloudy products. Paying month-to-month is more expensive than signing up for longer-term deals under NCE, which also packs substantial price rises for many Microsoft products.

    Channel-centric analyst firm Canalys unsurprisingly rates NCE as better for Microsoft than for customers or partners.

    Continue reading
  • Start using Modern Auth now for Exchange Online
    Before Microsoft shutters basic logins in a few months

    The US government is pushing federal agencies and private corporations to adopt the Modern Authentication method in Exchange Online before Microsoft starts shutting down Basic Authentication from the first day of October.

    In an advisory [PDF] this week, Uncle Sam's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) noted that while federal executive civilian branch (FCEB) agencies – which includes such organizations as the Federal Communications Commission, Federal Trade Commission, and such departments as Homeland Security, Justice, Treasury, and State – are required to make the change, all organizations should make the switch from Basic Authentication.

    "Federal agencies should determine their use of Basic Auth and migrate users and applications to Modern Auth," CISA wrote. "After completing the migration to Modern Auth, agencies should block Basic Auth."

    Continue reading
  • Wi-Fi hotspots and Windows on Arm broken by Microsoft's latest patches
    Only way to resolve is a rollback – but update included security fixes

    Updated Microsoft's latest set of Windows patches are causing problems for users.

    Windows 10 and 11 are affected, with both experiencing similar issues (although the latter seems to be suffering a little more).

    KB5014697, released on June 14 for Windows 11, addresses a number of issues, but the known issues list has also been growing. Some .NET Framework 3.5 apps might fail to open (if using Windows Communication Foundation or Windows Workflow component) and the Wi-Fi hotspot features appears broken.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022