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Bill Gates rules out return to head Microsoft, talks Jobs

updated 04:50 am EST, Thu December 15, 2011

Bill Gates committed to Foundation

In a wide-ranging interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Bill Gates ruled out a rumored return to the helm of Microsoft. Gates, who is currently holidaying in Australia with his family, said that he has made the transition from running Microsoft to running the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation full-time. When asked about Steve Jobs and his criticism of Microsoft and Gates personally, Gates brushed the barbs off saying that Jobs was driven by the fact that Microsoft Windows-loaded computers outsold Macs.

Gates said that he is now fully committed to his foundation, "and that will be what I do the rest of my life". However, he added that he is still "part-time involved with Microsoft, including even being in touch this week to give some of my advice but that's not going to change - the foundation requires all of my energy and we feel we're having a great impact."

While Jobs had called Gates "unimaginative" and nothing more than a plagiarist, Gates said that "because the Microsoft machines outsold his machines by a lot he was always kind of tough on Microsoft, but that's fine, he was a brilliant person."

"Our work at Microsoft was super successful for all good reasons but Steve made huge contributions and he actually in his last few years was a lot kinder than that but over the years he did say some tough things," Gates added.

Gates departed Microsoft in 2006 and in the following year, Jobs unveiled the iPhone and then the iPad in 2010, both of which have helped to fundamentally reshape the mobile computing landscape. It's hard to guess whether Microsoft might have reacted differently under his leadership versus that of current CEO Steve Ballmer. Ballmer has been heavily criticized for dismissing the "post-PC" era, as Jobs had put it, and now finds Microsoft all but out of the frame in the smartphone and tablet segments.

However, recently Microsoft finally seems to have accepted the arrival of the mobile paradigm as envisioned by Apple, recently releasing a slew of applications for iOS including its popular OneNote app and even an Xbox app. It is also rumored to be developing a version of its Office suite for iOS in a sign that the Windows giant may have fundamentally shifted its attitude to the platform.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Paul Huang

    Joined: Dec 1969


    We now know Bill Gates's intelligence is...

    really low, if he really believes that the driving force behind Steve Jobs was Windows.

    What a joke. I forgot to laugh.

  1. franksands

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Why bring up that unfortunate comment from Jobs? What it has to do with what Gates chooses to do with his life and his company?

  1. Sue Nommi

    Joined: Dec 1969



    is going to be kinder to Bill Gates than to Steve Jobs.

  1. macjockey

    Joined: Dec 1969


    he's right though

    SJ has always made it his mission to break that 5% market share.

  1. mkral

    Joined: Dec 1969


    comment title

    Proofreader must be asleep again.
    'Holidaying in Australian with his family'

  1. yticolev

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Doing a virtual holiday

    in Australian is cheaper than actually going to Australia. Bill Gates must be having a cash flow issue.

  1. slapppy

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Breaking that 5% is a milestone when your up against a Gov. approved Monopoly.

  1. mac_in_tosh

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Jobs had called Gates ... weirdly flawed as a huma

    Isn't that the kettle calling the pot black?

  1. FireWire

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: sue nommi: what?

    What? if that's the case, people are really flawed! Have people forgotten all the evil Gates did? All the stealing, the hostile buyout (ie: we buy you for a ridiculously small amount or I'm going to dedicate 100s of my best programmers to copy your idea and destroy your company), the monopoly, the threats (you put IE as the only browser or I cut you from MS).. Bill Gates is evil and history should not forget that just because he was kinder in his later years..

    Even the Simpsons mocked how Bill Gates operated (sorry I didn't find the english version, but if my memory serves me, Bill Gates comes to buy Homer's computer company, after hesitating, Homer agrees, then Gates says "OK guay, buy him out" and proceed to destroy everything. )

    "Our work at Microsoft was super successful for all good reasons" - HAHAHAHA.. if by good reasons you mean using threats and monopolistic position to force your product down the throat of people..

    If you think Gates is a good guy, you were probably too young in the 80s and 90s...

  1. ronmiller88

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Article mis-quotes Steve Jobs

    Why does everyone keep mis-quoting Steve Jobs' thoughts on Bill Gates? Assuming that Isaacson's book is correct (and I assume that it is), the quote is that Steve Jobs thought that Bill Gates was unimaginitave and had no taste, while ...

    BILL GATES thoguht that STEVE JOBS was "fundamentally odd" and "weirdly flawed as a human being".

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