Although friendly to Bill Gates in public, Steve Jobs had a strikingly acerbic view of Gates privately, according to the soon-to-be-published Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson. In the book, Jobs calls Gates a bizarre, unimaginative drone with little understanding of technology. And it goes downhill from there.
Excerpts from the book have begun appearing, in the Huffington Post as well as in the blog of Computerworld compatriot Jonny Evans.
In the biography, Jobs is scathing about Gates's personality, calling him "fundamentally odd" and "weirdly flawed as a human being," according to the Huffington Post. Jobs viewed Gates as a narrow-minded drone, and said:
"He'd be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger."
Jobs viewed Gates as being a very sharp businessman but not a technological visionary, saying:
"He really never knew much about technology, but he had an amazing instinct for what works."
And Jobs even discounts Gates devoting his life and billions of dollars to bettering the world through philanthropy, saying in the biography:
"Bill is basically unimaginative and has never invented anything, which is why I think he's more comfortable now in philanthropy than technology. He just shamelessly ripped off other people's ideas."
Of course, Jobs himself was accused of ripping off the work of Xerox PARC for the Mac and Apple's operating system. And as for philanthropy, he tended to be a miser, closing Apple's philanthropic programs, and very rarely giving to charity.
But Jobs was known for his acid tongue and temper, so none of what he has to say about Gates should be a surprise. As for what Gates has said about Jobs throughout their relationship, in public it was mostly praiseworthy, although back in 1998 he said:
"What I can't figure out is why he is even trying (to be the CEO of Apple)? He knows he can't win."