Steve Jobs Kept A Letter From Bill Gates By His Bedside As He Was Dying
Bill Gates was giving a keynote speech earlier this week in London where he was asked to name some of the luxuries he had. He just listed some DVDs and books. Surprisingly he did not list his private jet. During the speech he also mentioned that he wrote a letter to Steve Jobs, which the Apple co-founder kept by his bed-side as he was dying.
“If I hadn’t given my money away, I’d have had more than anyone else on the planet. Ninety-nine per cent of it will go.”
In an era when the wealthiest are society’s pariahs, stated the Microsoft co-founder.
Bill Gates’ charity foundation has been very effective thus far. His charitable foundation focuses specifically on diseases like malaria and polio. Not a single citizen in India has contracted polio in the past year.
Bill Gates persuaded about 70 people including Warren Buffett to give up a large chunk of their wealth. “We’re looking for philanthropists to co-invest, so any advice we can give them [is on offer].”
Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were friends at some times and enemies at other times. Bill Gates became friends with Steve Jobs as Microsoft was first launching, but became enemies when Bill Gates stole GUI interface ideas from the Mac. Since Windows launched before the Mac and made deals with top PC manufacturing companies, Bill Gates became the world’s richest man as Jobs was fired from the company he co-founded.
“Steve was an incredible genius who contributed immensely to the field I was in. We had periods, like the early Macintosh, when we had more people working on it than they did. And then we were competitors. The personal computers I worked on had a vastly higher [market] share than Apple until really the last five or six years, where Steve’s very good work on the Mac and on iPhones and iPads did extremely well. It’s quite an achievement, and we enjoyed each [other’s work].”
There were many times that Jobs’ heavily criticized Gates and his company. For example, he said Gates would be a broader guy if he dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram. Jobs also said that Microsoft does not have any taste.
In 2007 when Gates left Microsoft to focus fully on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with his wife, he did an event with Jobs.
“Steve and I did an event together, and he couldn’t have been nicer. I got a fair bit of time with him in his last year.” When he found out that Jobs’ death was imminent, Gates reached out. “I told Steve about how he should feel great about what he had done and the company he had built. I wrote about his kids, whom I had got to know.”
One day Gates received a phone call from Steve Jobs’ wife Laurene saying “Look, this biography really doesn’t paint a picture of the mutual respect you had. And she said he’d appreciated my letter and kept it by his bed.”