Bill Gates on Steve Jobs

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Of the many sincere and touching tributes to Steve Jobs yesterday, I found Bill Gates’ to be the best and most poignant:

I’m truly saddened to learn of Steve Jobs’ death. Melinda and I extend our sincere condolences to his family and friends, and to everyone Steve has touched through his work. Steve and I first met nearly 30 years ago, and have been colleagues, competitors and friends over the course of more than half our lives. The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come. For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it’s been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely.

Bill may understand Steve Jobs in a way that no one else on this planet could. His tribute is perfect. First, he addresses the most important thing: his family, his friends, his colleagues.

Then it’s personal. He and Steve lived through some big stuff together. They pioneered the personal computer and changed the world. He sandwiches the word “competitor” between colleague and friend making that undeniable part of their relationship seem more like play than anything close to a real rivalry.

Then he is generous. He gives Steve the full substance of his legacy, describing his impact as “profound” and lasting. Bill takes nothing for himself in that sentence.

The best part, though, is in the last line. That he will “miss Steve immensely” is personal and unbelievably touching, but that’s not it. Nope, the best part of this tribute is the phrase “insanely great,” the tag line for the original mac, a phrase that let’s us know that Bill Gates was and is a true Steve Jobs fanboy: a fitting tribute from a “colleague, competitor and friend.”


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