Steve Jobs had some highly critical things to say about Microsoft co-founder and chairman Bill Gates in the recently released biography. But in an TV interview on Sunday on ABC News' This Week program, Gates praised the late founder of Apple, saying, "When you think about why is the world better today, the Internet, the personal computer, the phone, the way you can deal with information is just so phenomenal."
Jobs gave his opinion of Gates to his biographer Walter Isaacson, saying, "Bill is basically unimaginative and has never invented anything, which is why I think he's more comfortable now in philanthropy than technology. He just shamelessly ripped off other people's ideas." But Gates took the high road, saying that Jobs, over the years, " ... said a lot of very nice things about me and he said a lot of tough things. We got to work together. We spurred each other on, even as competitors. None of that bothers me at all."
Indeed, Microsoft and Apple did work together, including helping to develop Microsoft Office for the Mac. In 1997, the same year Jobs returned to Apple as CEO, Microsoft invested $150 million into the struggling company. Gates famously appeared on a giant screen via a satellite video link to announce the deal, with Jobs live on stage, at the MacWorld Expo.
Since that time the tables have indeed turned with Apple, under Jobs' direction, launching the iPod, iPhone and iPad, among other products. They have captured the hearts and wallets of consumers and helped to make Apple a massive tech company. Microsoft is still doing very well and the launch of its Xbox gaming business, along with its Windows and Microsoft Office divisions, keeps the company in the black. But the Zune music player failed to make any inroads against the iPod and its mobile phone operating system are still well behind Apple's iOS.