Before I fell in love with Linux and OS X, I was already starting to hate Windows because of the virus attacks, bugs, and the annoying reminders to get a licensed copy. And with all these annoyances, I started to hate Bill Gates with it.
When I became a Mac user, I drank in the culture of Bill-hating and Steve-loving, without understanding why I jumped on the bandwagon. So I decided to be fair and find out their personalities, so I would know if I’m hating the right person.
My sources were the writeups I managed to bump into online, and the movie Pirates of Silicon Valley. Thus this is not a very reliable analysis of the character profiles of these two computer industry giants. Nonetheless, this is Bill and Steve, from Dummygeekgurl’s perspective.
My main impression after my readings is that Bill gates is shrewd. He made seemingly underhanded business moves that worked, like getting the Xerox OS idea, planting one of his boys in Steve’s turf, then ultimately releasing Windows before Steve could sputter out his anger. Here is the link to the story of the Steve-Bill fallout: A Rich Neighbor Named Xerox.
Steve Jobs, on the other hand, is projected to be a very grumpy, very demanding person who, though he also makes decisions just like Bill Gates, he seems to be guided more by his pride (ego) and principles.
Bill Gates seems gracious enough to put up a foundation, thus he seems to have a soul. But a part of me wonders if it’s all for press. Steve Jobs, to his credit, has been the whip behind the most innovative gadgets and computers of our era. And he is a charismatic character to boot, which makes him fascinating.
Pirates of Silicon Valley projected Steve Jobs as a man in search of himself, a man who is in search of spirituality. A man who is searching for profundity in life, who is intense and passionate about the spirit behind what he does. He was pictured as a man who broke the rules, broke the norms, and set a new standard for the corporate climate. He was also pictured to be highly manipulative, a man who likes controlling the men and women who are in his power.
Bill Gates, on the other hand, was shown to be an unassuming man obsessed with computers and with making money off them. He is driven, but easily underestimated due to his “geeky” character. A man who does not care for publicity, as shown in a scene where he was supposed to have a photo shoot for Wall Street Journal. In that scene, he was obsessed with getting Windows out “before the snow falls”, but his publicist or secretary was urging him to just cooperate with the photographer. Since his sweater clashed with the background, he had to take it off. When he did, his shirt beneath had.. Sweat stains.
The point of that scene is, that he was focused on more important matters than a photo shoot. In fact, he was whining about having to do it in the first place.
Steve Jobs was pictured to be more vain and egotistical. In the movie, he was projected to be in need of being adored. As mentioned, he was highly manipulative in the movie, pitting the Apple and the Macintosh teams against each other. For what purpose, it wasn’t clear.
Let’s go back to stories I’ve read online. It’s an infamous “fact” that Steve Jobs had seduced John Sculley from Pepsi-Cola with the line: “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?” I was just amazed with Jobs’ chutzpah and his persuasive power.
That happened in 1983. In 1985, things became a face-off between John Sculley and Steve Jobs, and Steve Jobs was booted off Apple.
Truly a sad day it was for Apple, as I believe, echoing rabid Apple employees and loyalists, that Steve Jobs was the heart and soul of Apple. If not for him, the company would have just been another IBM.
Steve Jobs was a visionary, getting interested in gadgets and designs decades before they became the norm. He is the reason Apple products stand out the way they do. He was also a connoisseur, with a taste for the finest in life.
If there’s anything Steve Jobs did that really disappointed me however, it’s the fact on how he had cheated Steve Wozniak with their initial earnings. Nothing is more.. Slimey, than friends screwing over friends. I guess great men could also be endowed with great flaws.
As for Bill Gates, he seems to be a private person. And I guess I wasn’t as drawn to him as I was to Steve Jobs. I guess his strait-lacedness made for a less interesting read for me. I could see, though, that he values relationships more than Steve Jobs does. I just gathered that assumption through Gates’ move to get Steve Ballmer on board his company. Through the years, despite Steve Ballmer’s record of bad behavior and a legendary foul mouth, Bill Gates has kept him Microsoft, and now, Steve Ballmer is even the company’s Chief Executive Officer.
Well, after seeing the movie and reading everything I could take on these two, I realized that they are both businessmen and profiteers at heart. They are willing to sacrifice relationships and to swallow their pride, if only publicly, in order to make a bigger buck. They had made decisions that both cheated over people. They reconciled, obviously with their own best interests in mind. I still admire Steve Jobs’ charisma and persuasiveness. But most of all, his being a technological prophet and penchant for giving birth to seamless and durable products has me putting him on a pedestal of sorts in my mind. Despite his purported ill temper, etc., for me, he is a man worth admiring.
Bill Gates, on the other hand, is still boring for me. When I read his written work, I couldn’t help feeling that they were too commercial. They had the feel of saccharine at some points, and the overriding theme of business was just way too.. Adult and staid and… IBM-ish, complete with the sterile projection.
Besides, finding out that Microsoft just bought MS-DOS from someone else will remain imprinted in my mind. The disgust I felt and the “a-ha” moment I had upon learning this “betrayal” that the celebrated OS wasn’t borne out of Gates’ blood sweat and tears would forever be distilled in my heart. From that point, I was able to realize the reason why MS OS’s are so unstable: they weren’t designed nor coded by geniuses. And now I am smug at my decision to stick to Unix-like systems.
Steve Jobs will forever remain an exciting character for me, and Bill Gates, philanthropist though he may be, will always be classified under “King of Mediocre OS’s” in my mind. I like his desire to help the needy, true, but I don’t think I can ever like someone who hires a psycho to head his company, which churns out OS’s that melt down easily.
I guess, despite my attempts to be “fair,” I’ll always be in hate with Bill Gates.