Former Microsoft CEO, Bill Gates, and Windows Vista honcho, Bill Allchin, had an email exchange back in 2003 when Apple launched iTunes and were rather candid about how well Steve Jobs put it together, and how badly Microsoft was caught off guard.

Gates says Microsoft was caught "flat footed". He also praises Jobs and doubts the subscription model Microsoft now uses for the Zune HD:

Steve Jobs ability to focus in on a few things that count, get people who get user interface right and market things as revolutionary are amazing things.

[...] With the subscription who can promise you that the cool new stuff you want (or old stuff) will be there?

Allchin was much briefer:

  1. How did they get the music companies to go along?

  2. We were smoked.

Gizmodo, via Groklaw have the full emails online. The question now becomes, is Apple still catching the competition flat-footed, or is Apple the one who now needs to be careful, lest they be smoked?