Steve Jobs on Bill Gates: ‘Unimaginative; he just shamelessly ripped off other people’s ideas’

“Steve Jobs called long-time rival and Microsoft Corp co-founder Bill Gates ‘unimaginative’ and not really a product person, according to a biography of the deceased Apple Inc chief executive,” Soyoung Kim and Poornima Gupta report for Reuters.

“‘Bill is basically unimaginative and has never invented anything, which is why I think he’s more comfortable now in philanthropy than technology,’ Jobs told author Walter Isaacson. ‘He just shamelessly ripped off other people’s ideas,'” Kim and Gupta report. “‘He’d be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger,’ Jobs added.”

Kim and Gupta report, “Gates, for his part, was slightly envious of Jobs’ mesmerizing effect in people but found the technology icon ‘weirdly flawed as a human being.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Everyone is weirdly flawed. That’s what a human being is.

Blatantly stealing someone else’s idea, bastardizing it by turning it upside down and inside-out, beating it repeatedly with an ugly stick, mercilessly foisting it upon the ignorant, the gullible, the tasteless, and the cheap; retarding global productivity for years while illegally abusing a wrongly-achieved monopoly to rake in tens of billions all the while pretending to be the father of a revolution and trying to buy your way into heaven with ill-gotten gains is certainly “weirdly flawed,” is it not, Billy Boy?

Bill Gates


    1. Lets see that list. Lets see that equivalent to that talks about the true development of Windows or even MS DOS from the very copier…errr inventors of Windows.

  1. Steve Jobs was brilliant, but undoubtedly a bastard to work for. Gates was just a very ruthless, hard-nosed business guy who happened to be in the proximity of others more capable.

        1. lol, way to reply to something from almost a year ago. However Steve didn’t steal from Xeorx. Steve payed them an obscene amount of money (100,000 shares of pre IPO stock for $10 a share) for access to their R&D department. They took the undeveloped idea that Xerox wasn’t even planing to use (Xerox thought there was no market for it) and which they had paid to be given access to and Apple completely reimagined it. They remade the mouse (it didn’t work very well originally), they totally created the OS from the ground up, adding things like drag’n drop, the trash can, the ubiquitous menu bar at the top of the screen and a host of other things that we take for granted as being part of a GUI. They wrote this all from scratch, not taking any of Xerox’s code only the kernel of an idea. Microsoft conversely pretty much ripped off the Mac OS piece by piece (this was later something they had to pay for in court).

  2. Less you forget the 150 million Bill loaned Steve to get aapl back on track. Be careful who you make a deal with. Steve didnt seem to have such harsh comments when he took the cash now did he. See steve’s keynote when he announced msft/aapl partnership! Not a Bill apologist.

    1. It was not a loan, it was an investment in return for stealing the OS, but more importantly Billy Ding Dong made a commitment to continue supporting M$ Office on Mac, which Apple needed at that time of weakness.

      I’m sure Steve thought the exact things he said later at that time.

    2. He used Bill, a nice turn-about for Gates previous dirty stealing.
      Bill tricked Steve into showing him his early products which Bill then stole, (and continued to poorly copy). Then Steve “tricked” Bill in to a loan that would eventually springboard Apple beyond Microsloth’s capabilities. So Touche! Very devious and brilliant move in Steve’s Tech Chess game.


      From another thread I posted on:

      You know the one thing that bothers me about this whole thing is the revisionist history. I’ve been an Apple fan since 1990 and I don’t ever remember the company being “close to shutting down.” I remember the argument in that day was how does a company with so much money in cash shut down? Its why types like me hated the “beleagured” description and why we revel in it now. I can’t recall specifically, but didn’t Apple have BILLIONS of dollars in savings? And that’s why Microsoft’s $150 million dollar investment was seen as a token gesture AND a way to keep the Feds off their back because of the monopoly accusations? Anybody know how much Apple had in the war chest BEFORE Steve became the interim CEO?

      1. Dude in 2010 Steve sat on stage at AllThingsD and told Walt Mossberg that Apple was in worst shape than he imagined when he returned and they were 90 days away from bankruptcy.

        They may have had a few billion in the bank but that can go fast if you are in the red and your burn rate on cash in through the roof trying to support a large company.

        I don’t think most people realize just how close to death apple really was. I don’t think anyone but Steve could have dealt with the challenges apple was facing back then. The decisions he made and the speed with which he went to work turning Apple around is simply amazing.

        I’ve always thought that Gil Amelio was the second most brilliant CEO Apple ever had next to Steve Jobs. Gil didn’t know what to do with the business, and was in way over his head. He did however have the sense to contact the one man who could save Apple.

        Update, 9:35 p.m.: Speaking with conference hosts Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal, Jobs says in the early days when he first returned to Apple, the company was about 90 days from going bankrupt. “Much worse than I thought,” Jobs recalls.

      2. Have you seen how fast RIM is burning through its cash reserves by releasing crap products that don’t sell? That’s where Apple was when Jobs returned. Although Apple’s products were good, they were stagnant and over priced. The clone program was a disaster, cannibalizing Apple’s own hardware sales for much smaller licensing fees, but without any real reduction in costs because Apple was still making its own hardware.

        Jobs knew things had to change drastically, and that Apple had to reinvent itself as quickly as possible. The iMac was the start of that turnaround because it created a “Wow!” factor, but more importantly, it significantly reduced the cost of entry into the Mac universe and started Apple’s movement toward more standard hardware (USB, etc.).

      1. Yes and made a PROFIT off those shares when they sold them later. Too bad they did, they’d be worth a lot more now. Apple definitely DID NOT NEED MICROSOFT MONEY NOR WAS THE $150 MILLION RESPONSIBLE FOR KEEPING THEM AFLOAT. I hate how people STILL don’t understand that. Microsoft did NOT invest in Apple stock out of the goodness out their heart, it was monopoly and U.S. anti-trust forces that compelled them to do it to get the Feds off their back.

    4. There were shenanigans going on behind the scenes at the time. That deal benefited Apple by showing Microsoft were committed to Apple’s at the time only product the Mac platform, but also benefited Microsoft because Apple had just discovered that large amounts of Windows Media Player code was literally cut and pasted out of QuickTime. The deal resulted in both parties getting what they wanted.

    5. Forget? You didn’t know Bill paid $400M for $150M in AAPL stock? (The stock quickly appreciated.) The extra $250M was in exchange for Apple dropping the infringement lawsuit, which was a very real existential threat to msft. Jobs did not want to win in court, but rather in the marketplace.

      Gates’ had huge drive, but his biggest asset was his father’s instructions on predatory contracts, partnerships, and licenses and how to get away with theft. This behavior exploded like a daisy-cutter in the naive new world of technology, holding back innovation for decades.

      It did not hold back Jobs, who understood Gates/Ballmer/Allen knew nothing about technology. He knew he could beat them. He did, and will continue to beat them from beyond the grave.

      1. “Bill paid $400M for $150M in AAPL stock? (The stock quickly appreciated.) The extra $250M was in exchange for Apple dropping the infringement lawsuit.”

        Link please?

        I don’t think that’s true. The transaction was for $150 million only and was in settlement of Apple’s lawsuit against Microsoft.

        I believe you’re conflating the amount Apple paid for NeXT ((400 million) with the Microsoft settlement deal ($150 million). Two completely separate things.

    6. I love this revisionism. It makes you feel good to believe things like this doesn’t it!


      Nothing was loaned.

      Apple and MS settled their patent suits with a cross licensing agreement and MS bought some Apple stock (which by the way the should tell you who had the leverage on the pattent issues!!) MS committed to continue producing softward for Apple and APple made IE the default browser. So a package deal where if anything Apple was the net winner. But in no way did MS lend any money. At best it was a vote of confidence.

    7. Microsoft publically gave 150mil, but the private deal was a billion to settle a potential QuickTime lawsuit. Apple had substantial proof that much of the window media player was compiled from copy/paste QuickTime code. After the secret deal went through, Apple cash reserve increased immediately $1 billion.

      Still a deal from Gates to help save Apple, and very significant.

      1. Nothing was given from MS to Apple.

        Where does this stuff come from?? I think it gets regurgitated over and over again on Gizmodo comments like a game of Telephone and these people come to actually believe this stuff!

    8. “Less [sic] you forget the 150 million Bill loaned Steve to get aapl back on track”

      There was no loan. There was a $150 million equity investment in special non-voting shares. Microsoft wold those shares about 5 years later at a considerable profit.

      Also, the investment wasn’t to help Apple “…get back on track.” It was in settlement of Apple’s ongoing lawsuit against Microsoft.

    9. My recollection is that Bill Gates/Microsoft lost a lawsuit to Apple because Gates ordered a straight copy of QuickTime. Sorta like the MS copy of MacOS, cleverly renamed Windows 95, complete with 6,495 bugs, all at no extra charge, except for the bug fix, known as windows 98, for only many more dollars. Re: the loan, Gates was trying to put the press attention on the loan and off the copyright violation. Steve is on record that Apple didn’t need the money. And Gates desperately needed Apple so he would have somebody to copy. Balmer is too dumb to know who to copy.

  3. “Everyone is weirdly flawed. That’s what a human being is.”

    Man is created in the image of God. Eventually every human being reaches perfection. It is inevitable. It’s only matter of time…

    1. Yes, but man did sin, so we are no longer perfect nor ever will be.
      BTW, this is a tech blog, not a religion blog! Keep religion out of here, it makes a mess of the comments sections.

    2. “Man is created in the image of God”? Oh wow, I wonder what the other intelligent beings, which most likely exist in this vast Universe, will say about that.

  4. Gates always seemed to me to more focused on market dominance than end-user functionality or ease-of-use. Still a titan of the rise of desktop computing, of course, but more clinical and ruthless in his manner ( ever see that clip of a Microsoft lackey’s failed attempt to connect a Windows 95 peripheral at a tradeshow demo, with Gates standing beside him, clearly seething behind his forced smile?) and lacking Jobs’ effusive, palpable enthusiasm about technology. Jobs possessed a keen design sense and a firm belief in keeping hardware and software development under one roof, which runs contrary to Microsoft’s long-held ethos (only recently abandoned with the de facto acquisition of Nokia in a desperate attempt to prop up Windows Phone) of never dirtying its hands with hardware development.

  5. Well…wouldn’t it be funny if MS pulled Office for the Mac. Any hopes of getting bigger by getting into the Enterprise would be up in smoke. Don’t burn bridges…..

    1. Let ’em pull it. Those that need it will run it in Boot Camp or via fast virtualization (Parallels, VMWare, etc.). Microsoft lost that leverage long ago. Only Apple Macs can seamlessly run all the world’s software.

    2. Please do! I make my living running Office 2010 every day. It is a complete nightmare, but its ubiquity prevents others from developing office software that works and is user friendly.


  6. Kind of Amazing to think… Steve was very much like Bill is now, before he met this Friendland character… he’s the one who showed Steve the RDF, and took him on trips to India and taught him how to be charismatic. Wouldn’t we all love to learn. 😛

  7. I’m not surprised by Steve’s comments.

    Bill and Steve were both visionaries, but they were very different shades of thinking when it came to making those visions reality.

    Steve solely focused on the end user experience and how you actually ‘use’ a computer or device. To him that was the pinnacle of making something great.

    Bill had no concept of this at all.

    Witness him at AllThingsD in 2007 with Steve. Bill was sitting right there telling Walt Mossberg that he was unrepentant in his belief that a Tablet Computer was the future. You can see Jobs almost biting his lip during the segment…

    Gates had vision for the future of computing that was very much in line with Steve’s own thinking overall (tablet , mobile).

    MS made pushes into mobile and pen computing as early as 1990. Bill even says at AllThingsD that his tablet he uses is like “Windows in 1992” … he never got past the first hurdles he encountered that required real design skills. He went about it all from an engineering mentality.

    Both Bill and Steve were highly intelligent, and passionate visionaries, but only one of them had the skills and design mentality to really change the world. That man was not Bill Gates.

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