Bill Gates revealed recently that he sent an intimate letter to Steve Jobs before he passed away in October. Gates said that when he learned about Jobs’ medical condition, wrote him a letter, one that later Jobs kept by his bed. In the letter it was written that Jobs should feel great about what he had done and the company he had built.
Bill Gates described Jobs as an “incredible genius” and praised his work on the Mac, iPhone, and iPad, in spite of his own work at Microsoft. He said: "We made great products, it’s quite an achievement, and we enjoyed each other’s work. We were not at war; competition was always a positive thing. There was no [cause for] forgiveness.” Yeah, there were actually good times and bad times shared between the two rivaling tech-gurus over the years. Both of them were responsible to bring technology to its exceptional current state, but there was always a mutual respect which later blossomed into friendship.
But before friendship between them must have been apposition, because Jobs is quoted in his biography as calling out Gates for being “unimaginative” and the person who has “never invented anything.” Steve concluded, Bill’s lack of imagination was the only reason for his transition from technology to philanthropy and that he “shamelessly stole other people’s ideas."
"He spent a lot of his time competing with me. There are lots of times when Steve said [critical] things about me. If you took the more harsh examples, you could get quite a litany." – says Bill Gates.
But it seems that after several years, the relationship has changed, as Gates says: “He and I always enjoyed talking. He would throw some things out, you know, some stimulating things. We’d talk about the other companies that have come along. We talked about our families and how lucky we’d both been in terms of the women we married.”
After Steve Jobs’ death, Gates was called by Steve’s wife thanked him for the letter and suggested her late husband’s biography did not accurately reflect the huge respect between the two.
Since Steve Jobs and Bill Gates will be remembered as two of the biggest tech luminaries of their time, it is worth to read the full letter.