Malcolm Gladwell: In 50 years, people will forget Steve Jobs, but revere Bill Gates

“Best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell, no stranger to provocative opinions, is at it again,” Brandon Griggs reports for CNN.

“During a recent interview in Toronto, Gladwell said that people a half-century from now will revere Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates but will have no clear memory of his longtime tech rival, Apple chief Steve Jobs,” Griggs reports. “‘Of the great entrepreneurs of this era, people will have forgotten Steve Jobs. ‘Who was Steve Jobs again?’ But … there will be statues of Bill Gates across the Third World,’ Gladwell said. ‘There’s a reasonable shot that — because of his money — we will cure malaria.'”

“Of Gates, whose foundation has given more than $2 billion to causes around the world, Gladwell said: ‘I firmly believe that 50 years from now he will be remembered for his charitable work. No one will even remember what Microsoft is,'” Griggs reports. “Gladwell made the comments late last month during a public appearance at the Toronto Public Library. His remarks began drawing attention this week after the library posted a video clip of the interview online (the Gates-Jobs stuff starts around the 9:30 mark).”

Griggs reports, “Gladwell did not elaborate on why he believes Jobs’ legacy won’t endure, although he made some unflattering comments about the late Apple co-founder, who died in October 2011. ‘Every single idea he ever had came from somebody else. And he would be the first to say this. He would also take credit for things. He was shameless. He was an extraordinarily brilliant businessman and entrepreneur. He was also a self-promoter on a level that we have rarely seen.'””

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Malcolm who? 😉

We just iCal’ed this for Friday, June 9, 2062. We’ll check back then to see who remembers whom and, if so, for what.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

113 Comments

      1. If eradicated, ‘no one’ will remember malaria. It won’t be an issue, so the only ones erecting statues of Bill G. will be his descendants. It could happen. The shame is that giving the money will have been easy. The folks on the ground doing the work and making it happen will get little credit.

    1. This guys a self promoter and a fool, mention a conterversial subject and get press to sell…Sell…Selll….

      Bill Gates is already a forgotten memory, the thief and the fool that put Ballmer at the helm of Microsoft.

      Steve Jobs changed the evolution of the Technology industry with a number of game changing products and designs, he’s already seen as the Da Vinci of our times, can anyone really say that about Gates….

      I thought not.

    2. I agree with him.

      Tech sector aside, Bill Gates is still alive and stands a better chance at securing his place in history, as a humanitarian, who cured a disease, instead of being the guy who was perhaps the worst computer programmer who ever lived and scorched the earth with his shitty software.

      Gladwell assumes Apple will allow Steve Jobs to fade away in a half-century’s time? I don’t think so, in fact just because this dickhead brought it up, people like me will just have to write music and stories about Steve Jobs.

      There is the potential for mythical stature of Steven P Jobs, but not Bill Gates; he was so boring and classless, they’ll just tell the plain truth, because that’s about as exciting as BG gets.

      Question: Who cured Small Pox?

      1. Smallpox? I originally thought it was Dr. Edward Jenner of the 19th century but Googled and found it was Prof. Frank Fenner, who died in 2010 at 95.

        IIRC Steve Jobs already has a statue erected after his death in Budapest, HU.

        As for Gates and his donated billions, it’s all in the name of taxes. He doesn’t need it so he cuts his tax bill by donating the interest on his wealth. The only thing Gates will be remembered for is how he stole DOS from Digital Research and altered the path structure so that today we are cursed to see that horrible backslash (\) character on our keyboards. A character that I can proudly say has never been pressed on my keyboards.

        Aside: Now that Zune is dead, can Gates’ children now publicly display their iPods?

        1. Qdos was not CP/M. It copied many of CP/Ms interfaces and internal API but DOS won’t run CP/M programs.

          Tim Patterson wrote what became MS-DOS and it was Paul Allen who found him not Bill Gates.

          I think Gates will be remembered like Rockefeller, not as a Creator of anything but as a methodical businessman who dominated an industry for a time.

        2. The WHO, cured the disease.

          If not for their concerted effort to eradicate smallpox, the cure would have been given only to those who lived in populous areas, leaving others to whither.

          I too, always thought it was Jenner. That’s what I learned in school anyway.

            1. Lol- I thought that too. I was already expecting a long awaited sequel to TOMMY since Rommy was cured of his deaf and blindness

    3. Goodness, this sure woke up all the fanboys from their naps! I doubt that either will be forgotten or revered in 50 years. 50 years is a long time. But we’ll always remember those who are truly great such as Tesla. Now there’s someone who really made a difference.

    1. Naaa it’s just a sad little apple haters fantasy. The still believe their precious little MS will rise from it’s doldrums and shine.

      Gates will be forgotten because he contributed only the concept of “a software company”. Steve will be remembered as the “renaissance man”- visionary that he was. Not only for launching the personal computer revolution but also for having brought humanity to the machines.

    2. It is very possible. If just one small percentage of the efforts being made by Gates and his foundation are successful, he will be remembered as a great benefactor. The destruction of malaria in Africa, the traveling wave nuclear reactor, the countless education and feeding the poor initiatives are impressive to say the least, especially the reactor IMHO.

      1. … that built Apple and Microsoft will be forgotten. Even if their companies manage to survive, or even flourish. And I’m hoping Apple can keep up the great work for decades to come. But Gates could continue to spend his ill-gotten gains well and bring about benefits to all. THAT would be the lasting memory.

      2. The theoretical reactor you mean. It is still being designed and researched. It does not yet ‘exist’. Gates was talking to China to eventually build the first one there IIRC. That is, IF it is ever built.

        Nukes are a joke. They have never fulfilled their promise of “energy so cheap you can’t meter it” They are uninsurable, we the people foot the bill. They receive subsidy after subsidy. We still have no good way to deal with the spent fuel. Nukes are a money wasting, environment poisoning mistake. They are the pinnacle of greed and arrogance. The US has enough spent fuel to wipe out all life on the planet. So does Japan…

        1. “They receive subsidy after subsidy.”

          Unlike the oil companies, who receive billions in drilling subsidies?

          “We still have no good way to deal with the spent fuel.”

          50 years with no spent fuel catastrophes.

          “Nukes are a money wasting, environment poisoning mistake. They are the pinnacle of greed and arrogance.”

          It costs about 35 cents a barrel to get oil out of the ground, but we pay $140 at the pump. Greed? Arrogance? Waste of money? 200 million cars spewing pollutant laden exhaust into the air all day long every day? Somehow that’s GOOD for the environment?

          If we got over our phobia of nuclear we’d cure a lot of our problems, but a lot of fat cats around the world would be put out of business.

          1. always like your comments.
            at least you think. different.

            nuclear is pretty safe now. the mobile ball versions ; )

            funny how those fat bastard industries hide in politically correct propaganda yet call us the unpatriotic liberal gay-greeners…

            if we spent all the oil industry’s wasted funds on green energy, we’d have been int he 25th Century tech advances a la StarTrek, but go figure human stupidity of greed…evolution my ass – we’re not much further than the neanderthal wheel/fire…

    3. Possible, yes, but hopefully he will be reviled for pushing cancer virus vaccines and genetically engineered mosquitoes to ensure no-one can avoid the vaccines.

    1. He’s an otherwise interesting author of Blink and other books about cultural change but I’m afraid any insights I may have credited him with are erased by this phenomenal blunder of an observation. Gates is merely another camel trying to buy his way through the eye of the needle whereas Jobs was a seminal element of transition to the digital age. Not only will Jobs be more historically available in the future but his personality will still be known. As I’m sure all of us are aware, Gates has no personality. It’s the one thing he was unable to steal or copy.

    2. And of course, who will remember Gladwell? Oh yeh, he’s the guy that predicted …

      SJ may be remembered for an approach to making things – that are extremely useful for people. This has further entrepreneurial applications for even the 3rd world.

  1. Since I won’t be alive by then and thus really don’t care, I guess I should get my opinion in now!

    First, the photo of him is EXACTLY how I pictured himin my mind. A ass if smugness nothingness that feels superior over those around him.

    Second, he is wrong about starutes of Bill Gates in third world areas for the money he’s spent. Only hand outs for even more money as the probems will still have persisted and the people of the third world are now hooked, much like crack babies are, hooked on the handout that in the end did nothing for them.

    ICal that and see if I’m right. I’m just going by experience is all! Lyndon Johnson declared a war on poverty. We still have poverty and I see no flux of statutes honoring him, who if you do a man on the street interview with those he tried to assist, they would say “Lyndon who?”!

  2. I’m sorry, but didn’t Bill Gates make his money from stealing an operation system idea for someone else? Hmmm, let me think for a moment. Oh yeah, he stole it from Steve Jobs. And now the legacy and momentum that Steve (re-)created is and will continue to change how we interact with he rest of the world. Bill Gates will be a footnote, albeit a philanthropist, but with money earned through theft. He’s trying to buy his way through the pearly gates.

  3. Is there a Gladwell Foundation that is out to cure any disease? What percentage of Malcolm’s own wealth goes to charity? So creating a substandard product (Windows) which has damaged millions of people’s lives (viruses, identity theft, wasted man-hours, aggravation, support and upgrade expenses, need for third party antivirus, etc.) is perfectly fine so long as a relatively small percentage of the wealth is redistributed elsewhere?

  4. We know one thing for sure no one will know who Malcolm Gladwell was fifty years from now.
    The irony of of his view of Gates is wrong. It is and was Gates that took ideas from other people for his own gain. Jobs was a visionary and yes
    took other ideas from people. The difference he has changed the way people interact in there daily life. Why hasn’t Gates put his foundation to work in this country where he made it. Instead heh jumping all around world for his self promotion. He is and has been a phony.

  5. 1. lie
    So Gladwell, Microsoft never stole every idea from Apple & others, never ate the competition it could not compete with just to kill their products/services?!

    2. lie
    If Steve Jobs was a “self-promoter on a level that we have rarely seen” as you say how do you explain that everyone knows about the Bill Gates Foundation but not the charitable work Steve Jobs & his wife did (education, free equipment etc) and for much longer than Billy?! Bill advertises his charity, Steve Jobs’ benevolence was truer as it was done in silence, without the showing off for credit. If you do it for a plaque on some building, you’re a fake. My grandfather was one of the early millionaires in egypt, an olympic champ, a last gentleman, he always gave, is revered, but never showed off, just as Steve.

    Besides, Bill was hounded by the media & anal-ysts for decades as he never gave to charity. He started giving at end of his career and now that he has nada mas to do, and reminisces to the void he created through the viral, dysfunctional chaos of MSFT products, he wishes to repent and be remembered through solving something as vital as malaria. your digital Mother Teresa, is fake – but your sense of history is shallow.

    3. misinterpretation
    Apple or Steve do not proclaim they invent things. Just that they do it so much better, easier, smoother, safer, more intuitive, more ubiquitous than the rest. Don’t be so silly and excuse it as marketing hype or brainwashing, since that argument would not last 3 decades! It is obvious, that the public use Apple stuff because it’s practical, sane, real, not just hot air. If you use the competition, that’s your choice, but don’t cry over spilled milk, if you choose to be ignorant or stubborn or frustrated at yourself for not switching. Maybe you suffer from Stockholm Syndrome or are intrinsically a masochist.

    4. who?
    Maybe you’re provoking to get attention for you next book, as i’ve never heard of your previous work. the call such FUD “hit-whore” online.

    One could go on & on on why your arguments are illegitimate, self-aggrandizing. Read Your Erroneous Zones. Get a life.

    1. Gaudi did not invent the cathedral, Michelangelo the fresco, Letterman the top ten list, Stradivarius the violin, Rutherford the scattering model, Galileo the telescope, Alexander the phalanx, Nostradamus the prediction, Doubleday the game of baseball, Newton the Calculus, Gutenberg moveable type, or Archimedes the lever. Nobody remembers those self-promoting, idea-stealing, second-rate losers either. We can make exceptions of Pasteur and Zuckerburg.

  6. A lot of crap comes out of Toronto. That’s why Toronto’s nickname is Hogtown.

    Toronto is also the epicentre of left wing thinking in Canada. Like I say, a lot of crap comes out of Toronto.

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