Bill Gates: Steve Jobs was better at design than I was

In an emotional interview on "60 Minutes," the Microsoft chairman speaks of visiting Steve Jobs in his last days and marveling at how well he understood the concept of brand.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read
CBS 60 Minutes Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

When the sense of personal competition has gone, when time has passed, the memories become more acute and more accurate.

During Bill Gates' interview Sunday night with Charlie Rose on CBS's "60 Minutes," Microsoft's chairman released some emotion when speaking of visiting Steve Jobs during the Apple CEO's last days.

He said they're talked about what they'd learned and about families.

He said the conversation wasn't melancholy, but it clearly is an emotional memory for Gates.

When it came to business, Gates admitted that Apple "put the pieces" together on tablets and Microsoft didn't.

When Rose asked him what Jobs had that he wished he'd had, Gates replied: "His sense of design, that everything had to fit a certain aesthetic. The fact that he, with as little engineering background as he had, it shows that design can lead you in a good direction. And so phenomenal products came out of it."

There was more about Jobs.

"He knew about brand -- in a very positive sense. He had an intuitive sense for marketing that was amazing," Gates added.

Often, Gates has been critical of the iPad, for example. Last week, he suggested that iPad users were frustrated and really wanted a Surface.

But this interview appeared more personal than corporate. So Gates, perhaps, gave more intimate answers to some of the questions posed.

The evidence of Jobs' brilliance is clear. In a sense, as Gates acknowledges in this interview, he and Jobs grew up together and each watched (and secretly admired) the other's successes and knew each other's weaknesses.

Gates has rarely shown weakness in public. The touch of emotion he showed here was, perhaps, for a man and a time gone by.