No iPods, iPhones, or iPads cross the Bill Gates threshold

Melinda Gates has once again re-affirmed that no Apple product, no iPod, iPhone, or iPad, is welcome in her and husband Bill Gates' house. Last time she said she wouldn't mind an iPhone, of cthis time she stuck to sterner stuff:

Do you own an iPod, which is made by Apple?

No, I have a Zune.

What if one of your children says, “Mom, I have to have an iPod?”

I have gotten that argument — “You may have a Zune.”

Do you have an iPad?

Of course not.

Is it true that Bill works on an Apple laptop?

False. Nothing crosses the threshold of our doorstep.

Isn’t there room in this world for both Apple and Microsoft?

Microsoft certainly makes products for the Macintosh. Go talk to Bill.

And fair enough. How many Microsoft products do you think make it into Steve Jobs' house?

[NYT Magazine via Fortune]

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

No iPods, iPhones, or iPads cross the Bill Gates threshold


I'm sure there's a mac in there for testing Microsoft programs like office for Mac. I'm also sure that his kids are pissed to be stuck with a zune.

I saw a segment on 60 Minutes about Bill and Melinda. They seem like the most generous people on the face of the planet. Is Bill really this petty when it comes to Apple though?

@Rob I doubt that Bill Gates does any testing of Office for Mac etc. What's sad is this molly-coddling approach to competition (not just with Microsoft & Bill Gates but generally). You want to make a better product than Windows? Use it for a few years and see what your frustrations are; then go to work on those. Of course you can learn this by talking to good customers, but the reality is that their feedback is always mixed in with the usual feedback like "I want the button to be silver, not silvery-blue" and so forth. Direct first-hand experience always tells you something much more quickly. Second-hand feedback is useful but you must interpret it correctly. For example, I'm sure his kids' friends are a good source of feedback for the Zune, as they'd likely have a good percentage of iPods. Except they're not allowed to show them or even bring them in the house. Unless he's mollycoddling himself so much that all his kids' friends get free Zunes too (quite a possibility).

What if one of their friends has an ipod or iphone, can they not come over? or do they have to check their apple products at the gatehouse.

@ Wadenick - Agreed, I'm sure he doesn't touch Office for Mac. You make some great points, though I would like to add that you should see what your competitor is both doing wrong, to offer a better solution, and what they are doing right - to copy them and make an even better version.

With the billions he's got, i'm sure they're coping ok :)
Are they this petty? Of course not. It's just a friendly PR jab to keep em talking. But i think its sensible for the first family of Microsoft not to be running around with ipods & ipads.
But where's the questions to Jobs on if he owns a Zune or whatever? The difference is that Jobs would answer in a way to make it sound ridiculous to even be using a Zune.

I doubt Bill's kids feel deprived due to a lack of Apple products. It's not exactly as if their father is the janitor for MS.
@Rob - yeah right. That's why they do so well in the market place.

@Edgar, show a kid a Zune and an iPod Touch, how many of them do you think are going to pick the Zune?

I do not that it matter is an Apple product is in their house because it is just their what matters is if the competition has used the others product at lasted once to see what they are up to and how to beet them

Bill Gates really should try to expose his kids to iPods and iPhones now because if not, they will crave the harder stuff later on like iMacs.

@Edgar zune is so superior, why are gate's kids asking for iPods by name. What makes you think it is superior?
@ grant I assume that comment was directed @ Edgar.

@Rob, do you have a Zune? I have an iPad and a Zune HD and it is my humble opinion that the Zune is many times better then an iPod. For me, it is not even a question. I am not a fanboy either way, but the Zune HD with ZunePass blows away the competition (really ZunePass has no comp). I do think that the iPad is the best tablet out right now, and I love mines.

Guess she never heard of the words rights, and freedom. Bill is still using an 8 track, and thinks it the latest.

Why wouldn't they have each others products?.....learn about competition in every day use

You all are missing the main point. MR MICROSOFT HIMSELF would be
a fool to let his kids run around with THE ENEMY (business wise)
Think of what a public relations GIFT FROM GOD it would be for
MR APPLE (Jobs) to be able to say that Bill Gate's wife and kids use iphones and ipads. Why would a sane man allow that to happen?

Wish I could say no Microsoft entered my house but I'm too poor to afford a Mac. And oh yea there's always gotta be an xbox.
I use to have a zune cause I got it on mad clearance, that was one of the worst devices I've ever used besides anything running windows ME!