iPhone made Bill Gates Say "Oh my God", iPad Makes Him Rehash iPod Dismissal

bill_gates_tablet_pc

Of course if BNET asks Bill Gates about rival Steve Jobs' latest creation, the iPad, he'll have to dismiss it in public -- to do otherwise wouldn't be in service of Microsoft. What's more telling is his confession about the iPhone (infamously banned at his house) some three years later:

“You know, I’m a big believer in touch and digital reading, but I still think that some mixture of voice, the pen and a real keyboard - in other words a netbook - will be the mainstream on that,” he said. “So, it’s not like I sit there and feel the same way I did with iPhone where I say, ‘Oh my God, Microsoft didn’t aim high enough.’ It’s a nice reader, but there’s nothing on the iPad I look at and say, ‘Oh, I wish Microsoft had done it.’”

On the heels of those emails we linked to yesterday, detailing his and Jim Allchin's concerns that Apple had caught Microsoft "flat footed" and "smoked" them, it also brings context to the iPad dismissal, especially considering the eerily similar dismissal of the iPod to BusinessWeek many years ago, as pointed out by Digital Daily:

“There’s nothing that the iPod does that I say, ‘Oh, wow, I don’t think we can do that.’”

And we all know how that turned out.

As to BNET, the introduction to Gates' interview reads as rather one-sided and Apple/iPad-hostile:

With the sudden ridicule of Steve Jobs’ new do-everything media player, Apple has abruptly become a ripe target for those who would like to take it down a notch.

Ridicule? While some haven't been thrilled with the iPad, much as they weren't with the iPod when it was announced, almost no one has used it yet, and many have been downright effusive about it. Really, wasn't the Gates quote link-baity enough?

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 30 comments. Add yours.

Denisa says:

I personally never used it but I have an iPhone & a MacBook & truthfully Microsoft has a LONG way to go before they can cone near Apple. Sorry. Windows is just pathetic for the most part.

bsforever says:

i agree with him...and suprisingly he's humble enough (the irony) to admit the iphone had that wow factor lol

F#c$ says:

M$ just plain sucks Apple rules. Im never going back to using a pc.

JROMO says:

Bill is a really nice guy...But sorry I'm staying with apple 4 life...Apple is just year 2020...Never going back to a PC.

dloveprod says:

I like windows 7 better than the mac os but I like the iphone os better than windows mobile anything.

Mitchell says:

They are both geniuses. Bill and Steve

Wes says:

Apparently in year 2020 , apple multitasking still doesn't exist.
Ahh just had to say it haha
but I do love me some apple

Romello34 says:

Microsoft created a way of internet surfing. He is the God father to this all. If not for the door being opened, would we be where we are today in this internet world. Lead on Microsoft! Lead on!!

websyndicate says:

Well happy he honest. Maybe we will see more innovations

Lady Kaede says:

I agree with JROMO - at his present stage of life, Bill is a nice guy. But as a former Beta tester of Windows 95 (when Microsoft reallywas rockin'), I declare that if it weren't for their massive installed and entrenched base in global corpration land, Microsoft would be completely irrelevant at this point; and nice-guy Bill, who's (happily) not even there anymore, about as relevant as Alan Turing or David Cutler.

Luc Richard says:

God fanboy are annoying, apples cool, so is MS. IMO my xbox 360 is a great invention and so is my iPhone 3GS.

Dustinae says:

@Romello Im not so sure Microsoft invented web surfing. It was actually a 3rd party developer that donated his invention freely for everyone to have. You should read up on Tim Berners-Lee, not Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.

Dennis says:

It's difficult to tell much about Bill Gates's public statements about a competitor. It's hard not to notice that voice and pen input have been primary features of the MS Tablet OS. Those features are definitely things that Gates believes in personally, since he was the primary force behind the Tablet PC. I would be curious to know what the internal memos about the iPad over at MS are about, though -- I can't imagine that MS isn't trying to figure out how to respond to it.
However, I agree with the use of the word 'ridicule.' Apple has definitely received a surprising amount of ridicule over the iPad announcement, IMO -- which I feel are for the most part unfounded. However, because of the degree and intensity of criticism at this point, it's easy for Gates to be publicly blase about the iPad.

tulliver says:

@Luc Richard - hahaha, xbox 360 a great invention?? Pffft. Not if you want something breaking done every two seconds; the PS3, now that's a piece of engineering ;)

Dustinae says:

i havent had any problems with my 360? Are they known to have problems? I have had mine for several years and not one problem.
Maybe its user error....;)

lol@Fanbois says:

@Dustinae
Yes the 360's have been notoriously faulty. Hopefully you are just being sarcastic, but up until some recent revisions over the last year the hardware in a 360 was a giant POS. Although I can't deny MS has done a great job at buying up software for the system and making it a solid gaming machine.
As for the iPad, Apple and Steve deserve every bit of "ridicule" they get. You can't release a product and call it magical when it lack all innovation and is just a larger version of an already existing device. I truly hope that iPhone OS 4.0 really evolves from what 3.0 is and makes the iPad worthwhile, but I don't have much hope as Apple is showing signs of starting to get complacent comfortable and that has never worked well for them.

iDavey says:

For everyone saying I'll never use a "PC"...you do know Macs are PC's right? Regardless of how the commercials market them.
I mean, it just stands for Personal Computer. Yeah...
But on to subject, I look at it this way. Mr. Gates knows failure on the Tablet horizon. He's not saying it will flop, but it won't push the tablet market to where most people think it will. Whether he's right or wrong, we'll see. Will it go the iPod route, or will it go the Apple TV route.
It's refreshing to see competitors (even though he's not really a competitor anymore) concede to admitting that a rival's product was really superior to what they had. But hey...he doesn't care. He's not in charge anymore, so he can endorse anythign he wants. LOL

fastlane says:

iDavey:

For everyone saying I’ll never use a “PC”…you do know Macs are PC’s right? Regardless of how the commercials market them.

Oh, not this again...
"PC" is the widely-used and universally-accepted term for IBM machines to differentiate them from Macs, and has been for decades. It doesn't matter that Macs are also Personal Computers, just as it doesn't matter that Senators are also Congressmen. But we've come to refer to only those in the House of Representatives as 'Congressmen' just as we've come to refer to only those IBMs as 'PCs'.
As for Gates; I think he's being genuinely sincere when he says he's not impressed with the iPad (like many of us here)... but I'm thinking he'll be surprised once it's been out awhile and the apps start coming.

iDavey says:

@Fastlane
That comparison would be okay if they were bashing Congressmen but then praising Senators.
At LEAST say Windows PC. It just makes people sound like complete idiots when I hear people say PC's are horrible, like Macs are not PCs.
But I do agree yet disagree. If the iPad was launching the App Store, then yeah...I'd say it'd be a shocker for Gates in the end. But that's the difference between iPad and the iPod/iPhone.
iPod launched iTunes and a seamless ecosystem of syncing not yet seen. Along with the iTunes set up which was rarely seen.
iPhone launched the App Store which gave a whole new distribution for mobile apps (although the method is old) it gave mobile phones a "one place to shop" place for apps and extensions for their phone. Where normally they'd have to hunt them down.
The iPad is just...an iPad. It's not launching anything not seen before. I think that's why Gates has the mindset he does. And he has all right too. The reason the tablet failed in the first place was it didn't really bring anything not seen. It just took a desktop OS and put it on a touchscreen.
In a way, the iPad is just that. If the iPad came out then the iPhone/iPod Touch...then it might have garnered a bit more excitement. But as it stands...

Edie says:

@LOL@fanbois and everyone else.. The iPad may be a big iPod Touch, but it's something that can do things much more differently than iPhone OS 3.0 and other netbooks/tablets can do. You finally have a full color, most compatible touch screen, with multi-touch on the market. The main reason why you guys are complaining is because it does not have that camera everyone was expecting! Let alone, Verizon. Suck it up you guys, and deal with it. What makes you think Apple will listen to us! Be thankful there is a wider iPod, movie player, eBook reader, App Store, e-mail device, GAMING device, etc. Look at iPhone and the iTouch. All of that technology(multi-touch, etc.) Is originally coming FROM the iPad. Now that Apple has approved it & decided it was ready, they now decided to market the device. I for one, am happy to give Apple my blessing on it. (:

iShirk says:

i cannot believe this site is endorsing the ipad.. im so close to deleting this bookmark

Orion2021 says:

It will bring digital book reading And casual Internet surfing to the coffee table. It will be a household device like a refrigerator, magazine rack, toaster:) haha.
Ok, but seriously, it is designed to revolutionize magazines, books, newspapers. Print. We have yet to see what they roll out on launch day. You have to save some surprises to reheat interest die to the time between the keynote and launch.

iGnominy says:

@iShirk
Can't guess why? Because TiPb needs iPad to succeed for their own growth. There is nothing new to write on the iPhone now, and if iPad flops, TiPb will have to shut shop.

Rick says:

@shrk you are a loser. delete bookmark and leave already. do not be a pubic hair

fastlane says:

I didn't mean Gates would be surprised with anything the iPad could do with apps. I agree with you there. I just meant he may be surprised with it's success when people are able to do so much more than they can with their phones.
Personally, I hope Apple just rushed this out half-baked to beat others to the punch, and that they're actually going to release it with far more capabilities than what we saw previewed.
On another note, if we call PCs 'Windows PCs, what do we call those machines running Linux and other systems?
Look, everyone already knows the whole 'PC' term evolving to exclude Macs is technically incorrect. But that's just the way it is. You'll never change the way a billion people refer to Macs and PCs as separate.
I've been trying to convince people for thirty years that there's no such thing as red licorice, but it's just not gonna happen. People are going to continue saying it even though they'll never see the word licorice anywhere on a package containing red candy. ;)

Christopher Cox says:

@Romello34: Microsoft created a way to surf the net how? They did not create the first browser. They did not create the first search engine. They did not create the global Internet. They did not create any of the file transfer standards. All Microsoft did was create an OS that became popular. The first web browser was actually called WorldWideWeb on the Next OS, not Windows. That was the first www program. Cello was the first web browser for Windows. Bill Gates had absolutely nothing to do with either of these. Next by the way, is a Unix like OS.

fastlane says:

Al Gore invented the internet. Everyone knows that. :)

Mptrh336 says:

It puzzles me how each of you feel so strongly about your loyalty to one of these companies. The bottom line is that they each provide innovative products to a very waiting marketplace. If you would let go of that loyalty you could see that the driving force behind it is the desire to "beat" their competitor to market with their latest and greatest. They compete and we all win. Quit complaining.

READthisPEOPLE says:

I like Microsoft and Apple and all the "i" products but i dont understand why all of you think Apple and Microsoft hate each other. Gates dosent have any say in what Microsoft is becoming. Microsoft and Apple, in my opinion, get along quite well. You see MS Office and Exchange on Mac, and at the same time iTunes and Safari on Windows. Windows runs on an Apple Mac for god sake. I work for MS and I get a discount from the Apple Store and Apple Corporate workers get a discount from MS. Microsoft <3 Apple. Apple <3 Microsoft. End of Story.