Live Rumble: Bill Gates vs. Steve Jobs vs. Swisher vs. Mossberg

Live Rumble: Bill Gates vs. Steve Jobs vs. Swisher vs. Mossberg

7:15 The show is about to start, and I’ve got major butterflies. Fingers and liveblog gear don’t fail me now. The transcript is off limits as a full copy, so I’ll be writing in honor of Sci Fi author Rudy Rucker’s style of fiction based on true events, which he calls Transrealism.

7:19 No one’s on stage, but there’s a video on screen, of the Macintosh dating game. The year is 1983, and Microsoft needs Apple to make half its revenue. Jobs is introducing Bill, and Bill has scripted lovely to say about Apple. It’s stable. It’s wonderful. He loves it.

The Second video shows Jobs at the 1997 Keynote, announcing the reestablished relationship with Microsoft.

They both look like Goobers. God, I’m glad no one has 80s footage of me.Fast Forward to the year 2007, at All things D. Jobs and Gates are about to appear, and Mossberg and Swisher are about to grill them. I’m convinced, after the earlier sessions, that Mossberg has the strength of 10 bulls, and the wit of 100 elephants. Cyborg Elephants. They are going to get these guys talking.

Oh softball! Jobs is kissing up, saying Gates started the first software company, and was ahead of everyone in that regard. Now the pot shots, right? RIGHT? Shoryuken?

Wrong. Gates is saying that Jobs was a stud for taking a risk on the mac. And that he respects that. OK, where are the body blows? Killing with Kindness? He does deny being Fake Steve. Please. No one suspected you had the style to write like fake steve, Bill. No one.

Remember the disk drive and the 128KB of RAM? Ha Ha.

Mossberg remembers the time when only thousands had found the Mac. And when the Apple ] [ had MSft software inside. Remember the Alltair? I’m too young.

7:34 Gates is telling the story, totally geeking out. And Then Jobs CUTS him off. “Let me tell the story.” [You shmuck!]Basically, long story short, Jobs needed Gates’ floating point BASIC. And gates thought it was a BLAST delivering the data on tapes.

Steve thought his pc was going to be cheaper…gates is laughing while saying this…but it was mine.
(I see why he’s laughing! Money!) Gates is moving. He’s twitching his left foot. Jobs is moving his left foot. They cross their legs the same. Like ladies, kind of. But opposite directions. I’m only writing this, because they’re talking about how much memory the old computers had. 28k? 128k? This is like when you try to get pokemon to battle, but they don’t listen to you.

Steve and I launched Excel together in NY. That was fun.


Apple didn’t differentiate their product. When Steve wasn’t there, things were slower.

Bill Amelio had a saying. Apple was a ship with the hole in the bottom, and my job was to point it in the right direction.

Steve J.

Mossberg doesn’t want to go through the whole history. Jobs thanks him.

7:40 Apple was in very serious trouble, and if the game was a zero sum game, then apple was going to lose. But a lot of people’s heads were in that place.

Apple wasn’t going to beat microsoft. It didn’t need to. It needed to remember that apple was apple. And Microsoft was the biggest developer for the mac at that time. It was crazy.

Swisher lobs a feeler. Do you consider yourself rivals. She likes PC guy better.

The art of those guys is not to be mean, but for them to like each other.


7:44 Mossy fires the right hand for a second taunt: How often is Apple on radar as a target? (Since Apple is tiny)

Zune thinks Apple is a competitor. And Jobs fires back that he loves Zune team because they’re all competitors. Here we go.

Steve is Soooo known for his restraint

(Gates rolls eyes)

Mossberg and Swisher are still pushing. Do you follow Vista?

Jobs repeats his software Mantra….hypnotically: An iPod is software. Beautiful box, but it’s software. A Mac is OS X. A Mac isn’t going to take over 80% of the market. But apple is a software company. And there aren’t a lot of them left. Microsoft is one of them.

Mossberg breaks in to go back to his last blog post, from nearly 3 weeks ago. Software and hardware lines are blogging. Jobs responds with a quote from someone.
People who love software, want to do their own hardware.

Bill says naaah aaaah, he can resist. He sounds almost afraid of that. So really, what’s going on with Zune and Xbox? That doesn’t sound very confident.

Moss: Could you have more marketshare? (Basically, Mossberg is asking him if he’s ashamed of the marketshare, and if he has any regrets?)

Personally, I find it absurd that the marketshare is so low. Seriously. It confuses the hell out of me. It’s like watching people fight to be in the Matrix.

Gates helps him save face, reminding him of the inverse positions in the music player market. More hugs.

“Let’s talk about today, before tomorrow.” Swisher directs Jobs towards addressing reality. Ladies and gents, she just shut down the Reality Distortion Field. Totally cockblocked.


You guys represent the Rich Client, the Personal Computer. And the room might agree that this is all going to the cloud. Maybe one of you would think about you two as rivals, but maybe as…



7:56 Gates: “

You’re always going to have rich local usability. Use the richness with the richness that is elsewhere.

Is he bragging about how much money he has?

7:57: Jobs talking about Google maps, and how much he loves it. But that his iPhone client is way better than the computer version that Google had. Jobs:

And you can run a rich client on a lower and lower devices.



You use a tablet

(to Bill)?

Yes. This is like Windows 1992. It has yet to take off….I think.

8:03 Gates starts swings his arms around. A lot. he’s explaining what his ecosystem of devices would look like. It’s totally confusing. He’s talking about projectors everywhere, and devices. And he’s confusing everyone.

Jobs basically feels, quite simply, that the PC will continue to be with us, as it morphs. Into the post PC era.

Gates is talking about scrolls in pocket devices.

8:08 Mossberg:

What will be on the pocket device of the future?


I don’t know. Five years ago, I wouldn’t have predicted maps.


There’s a zillion interesting things going on. The most interesting things are the new services. Things that help you navigate through life more easily. I think you’ll see more of that in the next year or two.

YES!. Mossberg is taking a shot at .Mac. He thinks it could have been utilized more. And Steve agrees, and promises to be doing more in the near future, make up for lost time.
And now he’s taking Gates to task for not advancing Live Anywhere. Gates nods.

And mossberg delivers a follow up question. After all the cloud talk, he asks if he thinks the hardware guys are going to lose to the service clouds, with 10 employees, who are starting like those two are started.

Gates justifies his position. Jobs repeats the message from before. That apple is just apple. They’ll focus on their thang. And partner with the new people who are good at what they do.

BTW, rich tech geniuses do lots of weird things with their hands as they talk. Like italian mamas.

8:15 Gates:

We’re not an entertainment company.

8:16 Mossberg is asking about Apple’s role in entertainment, Disney stuff aside.

8:17 Jobs replies that it’ll be a driving force, but I’m not sure that’s a different answer than Microsoft. Look at Xbox’s Marketplace, which is pretty damn nice.

Mossberg is building up for a big question. The build up suggests that there’s a really hard question at this. “Is there a new paradigm for the personal computer?” HA! That’s what I asked Bill at CES. He said no then. Now let’s see what he says. He’s talking about 3d, and books in a library. I’m lost. He’s getting lost in the nuts. He didn’t flat out say no. Actually, I’m not sure what he said.

Mossberg pulls us back to reality with a firm question about Multitouch. Will we see it in laptops?

Now he’s talking about cameras everywhere. And playing Tennis…….

Mossberg jumps in, pulls him back to firm ground again. He’s speaking at length to clear Gates’ buffer.

Gates is going off about Ink. 3d. Vision.

I’m going to stop typing until the thoughts are clear….give it 5 minutes.

I think Jobs has been meditating while Gates was rattling off a bunch of unintegrated random tech.
He’s there, with both hands together. Speaking slowly, clearly.

They don’t want a car with 6 wheels. They want to drive with a steering wheel. Not a joystick. Sometimes you have to augment, sometimes to have to rethink. It’ll happen with these post PC devices.

Swisher: What’s the greatest misunderstanding about your relationship?


We’ve kept our marriage secret for over a decade.

I pee myself.

Gates is going off again, but I think he means to say that it’s nice that Jobs has been around as long as he has. And has the guts to take the risk to do something new.


When Bill and I worked together in the early days, generally, we were the youngest guys in the room. I’m about 6 months older. And now we’re the oldest, generally. Which is why I love being here.

[With mossberg]

To quote the beatles, You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead, and that’s definitely true here.

Standing ovation for Jobs. Nice grab and use of the Beatles quote. I wonder if he’s allowed to use those lyrics. I wish I could clap, because I’m moved, but I’m typing. A lot.

Question session is here.

Sony pictures guy, ready to serve up a self interested question, I’m sure.

My life has been better by fewer standards…can we simplify the standards and systems in life, things can be better.

A Fucking Sony Pictures guy just said that!
Jobs said that he and Bill can agree that they’ll be happy if there’s only two, jokingly.

Gates notes that the industry is good at making standards and then weeding out the old ones and then

There’s a good question about legacy.
Could Gates’ philanthropy work dwarf his Microsoft work?

Gates: My life is software.

My brain is filled with software.

To Jobs: Do you envy his second act?

I think the world is a better place for him not working to be the richest guy in the cemetery.


We’re the luckiest guys in the planet, and we found what we love to do, and were in the right place at the right time. It’s hard to beat that. Your family and that. I don’t think about legacy much.

8:38 Advice to the people starting out in business?

The excitement wasn’t driven by economic value. We didn’t think we’d have to be a big company to be in every house. We thought about every doubling as the last.

Jobs: You have to love it. and you have to be a good talent scout.

What did you learn about starting your own business, that you saw in the other guy?
Gates: I wish I had Steve’s taste. In people and product. It’s magical. In that case. Wow.
Jobs: Because Woz and I started the company by doing the whole banana, we weren’t good at partnering. Microsoft was one of the few who was good at that.

Jobs is talking about the senior citizens and their macs, because of the iSights.

This question is being done by the Simpson’s Comic Book Guy.
“We all share our Science fiction roots, the metaverse, etc. What will we see in the next five years?”

Steve is going to introduce his transporter


Just give me Star Trek

Gates: [To paraphase, he sees a lot of little interesting UI hacks. Honestly, I tuned out.]
Jobs: I don’t know what we’ll see. And that’s why I’m so excited to go to work every day.