As part of an interview with Charlie Rose that aired on CBS's "60 Minutes" on Sunday, a visibly shaken and humble Bill Gates detailed his final visit with Steve Jobs, in which the two discussed everything from family life to empowering the future of eduction through technology.
Gates' appearance on the television program was prompted by his charity work for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. But unaired footage from the interviews later posted online by CBS offers a rare glimpse into the final encounter between two fierce competitors, whose passion for technology and indifference for the status quo forever altered the landscape in which we operate.
Asked about that final meeting in Jobs' Palo Alto home in May of 2011, a teary-eyed Gates said the two discussed a wide variety of topics, from âwhat weâd learned, familiesâ¦ anything.â The two practically "grew up together," Gates said, and despite their fierce competitive nature, shared respect for each others contributions.
"We were within a year of the same age, and we were kind of naively optimistic and built big companies," Gates said. "And every fantasy we had about creating products and learning new things— we achieved all of it. And most of it as rivals. But we always retained a certain respect and communication, including even when he was sick."
Though Jobs' days were clearly numbered at the time of the meeting, Gates said the Apple co-founder was "not being melancholy, like âOh, Iâve been gypped.ââ Instead, he talked of the future, and how the two of them, despite their vast accomplishments, had failed to materially improve education through technology.
"He showed me the boat he was working on," said Gates, "and talked about how he's looking forward to being on it, even though we both knew there was a good chance that wouldn't happen."When asked what traits Jobs had that he admired, Gates said: : "His sense of design, that everything had to fit a certain aesthetic. The fact that he, with as little engineering background as he had, it shows that design can lead you in a good direction. And so phenomenal products came out of it."
Jobs also "knew about brand" and had an "intuitive sense for marketing, which was amazing," Gates said, while also crediting Jobs and Co. with "putting the pieces" together on tablets that Microsoft simply could not.
During the final meeting between the pair, Jobs marveled over blueprints for his custom, 260-foot aluminum yacht, Venus, which was under development at the time.
"He showed me the boat he was working on," said Gates, "and talked about how he's looking forward to being on it, even though we both knew there was a good chance that wouldn't happen."