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Microsoft Pri0

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August 24, 2011 at 6:34 PM

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, Microsoft and Apple over the years: It’s complex

Jay Greene at CNET has a nice restrospective looking at the way Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, and Apple and Microsoft have intersected over the years.

Were they bitter enemies? Frenemies? Was it an on-again, off-again bromance?

In reflecting on Steve Jobs’ tenure at Apple, it’s impossible to separate the role Microsoft played.

Says Greene, who covered Microsoft at The Seattle Times in the late ’90s:

“The companies, as well as Jobs and Microsoft’s co-founder Bill Gates, helped pioneer the industry and define an era. The two executives partnered at various times, competed all the time, and challenged one another in ways that helped shape the landscape of techdom. It’s a complex relationship.”

Greene notes the bitter battles that have taken place. He also notes that in 1997, with Apple’s fortunes sunk low, Gates agreed to invest $150 million in Apple and to develop and ship future versions of its Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, and development tools for the Macintosh.

“That investment, which surely paid off for Microsoft over the years, also helped Apple regain financial footing,” Greene says.

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