Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Microsoft Chief Technologist Bill Gates were interviewed together by the Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher. The interview was a charming look back as both men waxed nostalgic about their long time rivalry.
Some news reports have given you truncated quotes, but Crazy Apple Rumors Site has the full transcript. Read on.
SWISHER: Gentlemen, thank you for being here together. What do you think each has contributed to the computer industry? Steve?
JOBS: Well, I think I’ve clearly contributed more to the computer industry. I mean, they completely copied all of our…
SWISHER: No. No. Steve. I want you to tell us what you think Bill has contributed.
JOBS: Oh. Uh… well… Flood pants?
SWISHER: Uh… I think those had been around for a while.
JOBS: Oh! He made it OK for hot women to marry painfully incurable geeks who have the posture of Steven Hawking.
[General laughter as Gates blushes.]
GATES: Ha-ha! That is true.
GATES: Oh, well, he… uh… he made me look like less of a jerk.
SWISHER: Hmm. Well, not exactly what I was looking for there…
MOSSBERG: Let’s talk about the Microsoft software that shipped on the Apple II. How did that come about?
GATES: The original Apple II Basic… the integer Basic… we had nothing to do with… I think that was made by elves…
GATES: Oh. OK. But then there was a floating point one and I mostly worked with Woz on that. And then there was one where you could cast integers as floating point and another one where…
JOBS: Here, let me tell this story.
GATES: Oh. OK.
JOBS: Because you have all the narrative charm of Stan Sigman.
GATES: Um… I do play squash with Stan.
JOBS: So, I’m talking to Woz and begging him for this floating point Basic and he’s sobbing and telling me it’s impossible! And I’m telling him, you can do it! I believe in you! You need to believe in yourself!
GATES: Get to the part about the size of the variables.
JOBS: And Woz looks at me with those big eyes of his and says “OK, Steve. If you believe in me!”
GATES: The size of the variables was really small!
JOBS: Woz later said it was a defining moment in his life.
GATES: And there was this wicked round function!
MOSSBERG: Let’s talk about Microsoft’s investment in Apple ten years ago.
GATES: I was working with Gil Amelio on setting up this investment and we had been going back and forth and then I get a call from Steve…
GATES: And Steve says, I’ll never forget this, “I’ve got you surrounded by my army of zombies and I won’t be satisfied until you invest $150 million in Apple and agree to continue making Office!”
JOBS: Oh, that’s embarrassing now! I was strung out on mescaline and covered in chicken blood!
GATES: And it was true! I looked out the window and I was surrounded by his army of zombies. So I… heh-heh… I wrote him a check. I mean, it was only $150 million. I wrote it out of my personal checking account.
JOBS: Yeah. I should have asked for more. But I like how you managed to spin that as a victory for you.
GATES: Thank you.
SWISHER: What’s the greatest misunderstanding about your relationship?
JOBS: You know, despite all the differences of opinion and the rivalry and the tough business deals… I go back to that quote from the Beatles: You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.
MOSSBERG: That’s just great. Fabulous.
GATES: I’m reminded of a function I wrote once that parsed strings…
MOSSBERG: I think we’re just going to end it right there.
GATES: Oh. OK.