Apple's Steve Jobs spends a chunk of his new biography drawing contrasts between Apple and Microsoft, while opining on Microsoft CEOs Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer.
Near the end of Walter Isaacson's new biography of Steve
Jobs, the author steps aside to let his subject opine about a variety of
topics, including Microsoft and Bill Gates.
"It's easy to throw stones at Microsoft," Jobs said.
"They're clearly fallen from their dominance. They've become mostly irrelevant.
And yet I appreciate what they did and how hard it was. They were very good at
the business side of things. They were never as ambitious product-wise as they
should have been."
He goes on to characterize former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates
as "a business person" but not someone who necessarily made great products: "He
ended up the wealthiest guy around, and if that was his goal, then he achieved
it. But it's never been my goal, and I wonder, in the end, if it was his goal."
He also reserves some choice words for current Microsoft CEO
Steve Ballmer. "When the sales guys run the company, the product guys don't
matter so much, and a lot of them just turn off," he said. "It happened at
Apple when Sculley came in, which was my fault, and it happened when Ballmer
took over at Microsoft." As a consequence, "I don't think anything will change
at Microsoft as long as Ballmer is running it."
Jobs gave Isaacson unprecedented access to his life,
granting him dozens of interviews-the last of which took place during the Apple
CEO's last summer. The biography details Jobs' long-term battle with cancer and
attempts to revive Apple in the late 1990s. The book currently tops Amazon's
bestseller list, and is widely expected to move quickly off store shelves.
Apple announced Jobs' death Oct. 5. A decade of technology
hits-including the iPad, iPod and iPhone-had transformed the struggling company
into one of the most respected and valued enterprises in the world, and
elevated Jobs to superstar status. Apple stores closed Oct. 19 so employees
could watch a memorial service held on Apple's campus.
In the biography, Jobs also vents his fury at other Apple
competitors, notably Google. He pledged to launch "thermonuclear war" against
Google Android, which he termed "a stolen product." In a meeting with former
Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Jobs supposedly refused to accept any sort of Android-related
payout: "I don't want your money. If you offer me $5 billion, I won't want it.
I've got plenty of money. I want you to stop using our ideas in Android, that's
all I want."
In keeping with Jobs' words, Apple has also fired off
lawsuits against Android device manufacturers. Its worldwide courtroom battle
against Samsung extends from Europe to Japan and Australia, with both companies
accusing each other of intellectual property
violations. Apple's other lawsuit targets include HTC and Motorola, and it
recently settled a dispute with Nokia.
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