Although he's technically on vacation with his family in Australia, Bill Gates took some time to sit down for an interview today with Tim Lester of Fairfax Media to discuss a few topics that have been swirling around the Microsoft founder.
Earlier this month rumors began to circulate that Gates was considering returning to the helm of Microsoft, but Gates was quick to dismiss any speculation on the subject. He denied the rumors and restated his devotion to work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation "full-time." He said that, although he does still maintain contacts within Microsoft, he considered his involvement to be limited to giving advice as the "foundation requires all of [his] energy." He went on to share his enthusiasm about working alongside scientists and other experts and being able to appreciate the impact that the Foundation has had. But alas, he is not "keen on going back to the old job."
A certain Boo Berry out there probably cackled with delight at that news. And speaking of Steve Jobs, Lester brought up some barbed criticisms that the late Apple boss had made about Gates. He took Jobs' pugnacious words in stride, though, and said that Jobs was probably tough on Microsoft because they consistently outsold Apple machines. Gates remained diplomatic with his comments on Jobs - the guy just died and people still revere him as if he hung the moon, so can you blame Gates for treading carefully through this thicket? The slightest cross word about Jobs would probably result in Gates being iTar-and-feathered - and acknowledged that Jobs was a "brilliant person" who he enjoyed both working with and competing against.
In what was probably one of the more enjoyably awkward moments of the interview, Lester asked Gates if he used any of the Apple products such as the iPhone. Gates was steadfast with his allegiance to Microsoft and assured Lester that "there are fantastic Windows phones" and that he is "the most avid Microsoft user you'll meet." Lester joked that he was going to ask Gates to get out his phone to prove he wasn't an iPhone user, but Gates waved it off.
The article component to this interview revisits the clash of the computer titans. Gates and Jobs have gone back and forth at each other over the years, so this rehash of their rivalry isn't really anything new (and nothing new was really said here). The full interview, however, will be published tomorrow in the Sydney Morning Herald.