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Mac says hello to PC (Source: AllThingsD.com)

The two most important men in computing (Source: AllThingsD.com)

The hosts help keep things rolling (Source: AllThingsD.com)
Microsoft and Apple leaders speak on each other, commercials, Xbox, iPod and more

Microsoft and Apple Computer are the yin and yang of the computer world. Without either of them, the technology landscape would not be as it is today. At the head of those two very different, but significant companies are equally different and significant individuals: Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.

The two pioneers are often at the center of the stage preaching the latest innovations for their respective companies, but rarely do they share the same stage. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs appeared together at this year’s D: All Things Digital conference, an annual gathering coordinated by the Wall Street Journal.

The session began with each leader asked to say what the other has contributed to the industry. Jobs started, “Well, you know, Bill built the first software company in the industry and I think he built the first software company before anybody really in our industry knew what a software company was, except for these guys. And that was huge. That was really huge. And the business model that they ended up pursuing turned out to be the one that worked really well, you know, for the industry. I think the biggest thing was, Bill was really focused on software before almost anybody else had a clue that it was really the software.”

Then Gates started with a joke, “First I want to clarify, I'm not Fake Steve Jobs,” referring to the notorious blog. “What Steve's done is phenomenal. Back in 1977, the Apple II, the idea that it would be a mass-market machine and an incredibly empowering phenomenon. And the Macintosh, that was so risky. Apple really bet the company, Lisa hadn't done that well, but the team that Steve built within the company to pursue that, some days it felt a little ahead of its time. Remember the Twiggy disk drive and...” – Jobs interjected, “128K!”

Gates continued, “In a certain sense, we build the products we want to use ourselves. He's really pursued that with an incredible taste and elegance and had a huge impact on the industry. Apple literally was failing when Steve went back and reinfused innovation and risk-taking that have been phenomenal. So the industry has benefited immensely from his work. I'd say he's contributed as much as anyone.”

The two then went over some historical bits, arriving eventually to 1997, when Steve Jobs returned to Apple. Jobs recalls his thoughts from that time, recorded by the D5 website, “If the game was a zero-sum game where if Apple wanted to win, Microsoft had to lose, then Apple was going to lose. But Apple didn’t have to beat Microsoft. It had to remember what Apple was. Microsoft was the biggest software developer around, and Apple was weak. So I called Bill up.”

Although Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are popularly portrayed as rivals, especially in the movie the Pirates of Silicon Valley, the Apple leader says that his company’s close ties with Microsoft is very important. “The developer relationship between Microsoft and Apple is one of the best we have,” said Jobs.

A bit of a rivalry does appear on the topic of the Mac ads that appear all over the web and television. Bill Gates referred to the ads as lies in an interview back in February, “I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say? ... Does honesty matter in these things, or if you're really cool, that means you get to be a lying person whenever you feel like it? There's not even the slightest shred of truth to it.”

Back on stage, Job defended the purpose of the ads, saying, “The art of those commercials is not to be mean, but for the guys to like each other. The PC Guy is great… The PC Guy is what makes it all work.”

Gates had only to say, “PC guy’s mother loves him.” The two hosts of the session chimed in to add that they liked PC guy too.

Moving away from current spats and towards the current products, Jobs cited Alan Kay as once saying, “People that love software want to build their own hardware.” Although Microsoft has its own hardware devices with the Xbox consoles and the Zune, Jobs is referring to any potential desire Microsoft may have to build machines specifically to run Windows.

One of the forum hosts had brought up an interesting anecdote: at one point, Microsoft was for a while the biggest purchaser of a certain Mac tower for the use of Xbox 360 development software. Gates then added, “I don’t know if it was the biggest, but, yeah, we had the same processor essentially that the Mac had. This is one of those great ironies is they were switching away from that processor while the Xbox 360 was adopting it. But for good reasons, actually, in both cases. Because we’re not in a portable application and that was one of the things that that processor road map didn’t have. But yes, it shows pragmatism, but we try and do things that way. So that was the development system for the early people getting their software ready for the introduction of Xbox 360.”

Jobs then shifted the attention to Apple’s leading hardware innovation, the iPod, and a key reason why it is so successful. “If you look at the reason that the iPod exists and the Apple’s in that marketplace, it’s because these really great Japanese consumer electronics companies who kind of own the portable music market, invented it and owned it, couldn’t do the appropriate software, couldn’t conceive of and implement the appropriate software. Because an iPod’s really just software. It’s software in the iPod itself, it’s software on the PC or the Mac, and it’s software in the cloud for the store. And it’s in a beautiful box, but it’s software.”

Jobs and Gates were both there at the modern computer revolution, and they are still here today, furthering progress. “When Bill and I first entered the industry, we were the youngest guys in the room, and now we’re the oldest. I tend to think of things in terms of either Dylan or Beatles songs. And there’s that one line in that Beatles song, 'You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead,' and I think that’s clearly true here,” concluded Jobs.



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RE: One has to wonder...
By Anosh on 6/1/2007 12:52:38 PM , Rating: 3
I think I'd like it very much if they developed an underlying system were software would run in both MS and Apple OS.

Even though it would probably not happen in the near future an OS designed by your joint-venture would probably have many things to offer.


RE: One has to wonder...
By PrezWeezy on 6/1/2007 1:05:42 PM , Rating: 5
Nah. The reason they are both so successful is that they are different. I know people who love the mac, I love the PC. We use it for different things and I don't want to own a Mac, they don't want a PC. I think them being able to capitalize on their own niche is best. Although the sharing of ideas is always a good thing too. Just my thoughts.


RE: One has to wonder...
By Hare on 6/1/2007 6:45:58 PM , Rating: 2
Very well said. I own both and I can't really say which one is my favourite (Vista vs OS X). Both have unique strengths and weaknesses.


RE: One has to wonder...
By Oregonian2 on 6/1/2007 1:40:08 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Even though it would probably not happen in the near future an OS designed by your joint-venture would probably have many things to offer.


Probably not legal either. The EU would be REALLY in a bad mood if Apple applications would then be "forced to" (they'd put it that way) run on a Microsoft OS. Conspiracy theorists would have it be a plot to do away with Apple specific application software and Windows to rule that little they don't already.


RE: One has to wonder...
By JoeBanana on 6/2/2007 8:04:12 AM , Rating: 2
That is a very sarcastic comment.:D But in this case I think it would be the other way around. They would like to run apps on both OS. And in that case they can also sue them cuz they currently don't run on both systems :P
But seriously I would like to see all apps work on both OS and then you can choose which apps will you use. In that case the customer wins. :D


RE: One has to wonder...
By mars777 on 6/3/2007 12:58:41 AM , Rating: 3
No, the only thing the EU would need is equality between competition.
They would force Microsoft to make a Linux compatible version if there was a Mac compatible version.

As much as this wouldn't pass in the US law system, a BSD(Mac) to Linux port wouldn't require much work, and in this case I would back-up the EU mentality. Just for the sake of compatibility vs duopolization of the market.

If Apple and Microsoft would run along with each other shaking hands, there WOULD NEVER BE any other OS software on EARTH, until they fade away somehow.
They would simply be hampering the market if they had joint-venture :(


RE: One has to wonder...
By mars777 on 6/3/2007 1:06:56 AM , Rating: 1
I am not trying to say that they improved the market, but everything they did is commercialize already done ideas.
This is where the open source community fails.
Open source invented everything from the lowest kernel lines of the Linus OS to the highest conception ideas of the MS OS. From the lowest lines of the OpenGL extensions to the X server to the highest conceptions of the Avalon in Vista, since one was the succesor to the other.
If the Open Source community could be able to commercialize better, the ones from this article would be bleeding much more. Then we would see COMPETITION.


RE: One has to wonder...
By mars777 on 6/3/2007 1:11:27 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I am not trying to say that they improved the market, but everything they did is commercialize already done ideas.


Change to:
I am not trying to say that they DID NOT improve the market, but everything they did is commercialize already done ideas.

Sorry, too many things are happening around me at the moment, and i'm not able to run so many threads :D


RE: One has to wonder...
By FITCamaro on 6/1/2007 3:54:10 PM , Rating: 4
Maybe they can work on a venture to end the annoying Mac commercials plaguing TV. I'm getting tired of them.


RE: One has to wonder...
By GoodBytes on 6/1/2007 7:08:30 PM , Rating: 2
Thank you! Someone agrees with me!


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