There are a lot of adjectives to describe Bill Gates, the Harvard dropout who co-founded Microsoft and went on to become a billionaire. Before he passed away, Steve Jobs offered some of his own. He called Gate "unimaginative" and said of his nemesis, he "has never invented anything, which is why I think he's more comfortable now in philanthropy than technology." The verbal beat down didn't stop there.
"[Bill Gates] just shamelessly ripped off other people's ideas," Jobs is quoted as saying in his authorized biography.
Those words, now emblazoned in print and read by millions of people, put Gates in the unenviable position of responding while deciding whether to simultaneously take the high road by not returning pot shots at his deceased competitor, or take the gloves off and start swinging at Steve Jobs' ghost. Actually, it was ABC's Christiane Amanpour who put Gates in the hot seat by asking him to address those statements in a televised interview.
"Well, Steve and I worked together creating the Mac. We had more people on it, did the key software for it," Gates said. "So over the course of the thirty years we worked together, he said a lot of very nice things aboiut me, said a lot of tough things."
"He faced several times at Apple the fact that their products were so premium priced that they literally might not stay in the marketplace. So the fact that we were succeeding with high volume products, including a range of prices, because of the way we worked with multiple companies, it's tough. And so the fact that at various times he felt beleaguered, he felt like he was the good guy, we were the bad guys, you know, very understandable. I respect Steve. We worked together, we spurred each other on, even as competitors. None of that bothers me at all."
High road it is. You can watch the interview here.