The Wall Street Journal is hosting a complete video archive of the historic onstage meeting between Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Microsoft founder Bill Gates. The pair met at the D: All Things Digital Conference late last night.
The meeting - hotly anticipated by the world's technology community - showed a real sense of warmth between the two tech goliaths, according to multiple reports.
In general, both men had good things to say about each other, and expressed mutual admiration for the other's contrasting style.
As Macworld's US editor Jason Snell reports: "What struck me most about Jobs’ and Gates’ interaction with one another was the genuine warmth they both felt when nostalgically recalling the early days of the personal computer revolution, when Microsoft supplied a version of the BASIC programming language for the Apple II and then became one of the flagship application developers for the very first Mac. In an industry that has trouble remembering what happened last week, these men have 30 years of history - much of it good, believe it or not."
Jobs admitted that he regretted Apple's decision not to work in partnership with other firms: "We weren’t so good at partnering with people. And if Apple had more of that in its DNA, it would’ve served us really well. And [Apple] didn’t learn that until a couple decades later."
Gates was more direct in his praise, saying: "I’d give a lot to have Steve’s taste, his intuitive taste, both for people and products."
Gates talked about meetings between the two men when the original Mac was in development, when he would approach problems from a technological perspective, while Jobs would face problems intuitively based on “his sense of people” and how they’d respond to using the technology. “And it was magical,” Gates recalled. “Wow!”
Jobs also observed: "Bill built the first software company in the industry. And I think he built the first software company before anyone in our industry knew what a software company was, and that was huge. And the business model they ended up pursuing ended up working really well," said Jobs. "Bill was focused on software before anyone else had a clue. There’s a lot more you can say, but that’s the high-order bit."
“In a certain sense we build the products we want to use ourselves,” Gates explained. "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 benefitted immensely from his work. I’d say he’s contributed as much as anyone."
However, Jobs and Gates did conflict slightly over Apple's series of "I'm a Mac; I'm a PC" ads.
Both men talked intensively about the future of the PC - they recalled a list of devices once touted as being future PC killers, and agreed that the PC would be around for a long while yet.
For the future, Gates focused on technological innovation in the desktop space - 3D representations of books, for example, while Jobs focused on the new breed of devices, such as the iPod and iPhone.
"What we got was a good glimpse at two men who genuinely love technology and are driven by their enthusiasm in the work they have chosen," Snell reports. "As Jobs himself said, 'I sort of look at us as two of the luckiest guys on the planet.'."