Their rivalry has been quite infamous as the two leading CEOs of world’s biggest tech companies. Back in the 80s and 90s, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates didn’t really see eye to eye on many things. Yet, there was admiration as well, which Gates has spoken a lot about since Jobs passed away in 2011. Now, an old email has been unearthed that was written by Gates to Microsoft employees after Apple had launched its iTunes service in 2003.
The email has been published by @TechEmails Twitter account. The account is known for unearthing emails that were sent by big tech companies. In this email, Gates said how Jobs had the power to “get people who get user interface right” to sell products and services as “amazing things.” The email was sent by Gates to his employees on April 30, 2003.
Gates’ email suggests that Microsoft was also planning to start its own online music service. However, Apple trumped them by launching the iTunes Store.
There was admiration towards Jobs in the email written by Gates. “Steve Jobs ability to focus in on a few things that count, get people who get user interface right and market things as revolutionary are amazing things,” he wrote. He also said that the way Jobs managed to usher in iTun was a bit “strange to him”. “This time somehow he has applied his talents in getting a better licensing deal than anyone else has gotten for music. This is very strange to me. The music companies own operations offer a service that is truly unfriendly to the user and has been reviewed that way consistently,” Gates told Microsoft employees.
Microsoft wanted to have its own music subscription service as Gates told his employees that “even though Jobs has us a bit flat footed again” they needed to match and come up with something better than Apple quickly. The idea, however, never materialised but Apple did end up changing the way music is consumed by quite a lot of people.