This article is part of a series
Episode – II
The ship was steady but Gates was not at the helm and this wasn’t the moment for which Gates had risked everything. He wanted to run the business in his own way and with his bright acumen he was ever ready to grab opportunities when they came.
When APPLE was all over the place in PC industry and started taking over the business computing scenario, the big player IBM sensed a threat and decided to jump into the PC battle. But it needed an operating system and software to beat APPLE in its turf. Gates was a wise man and he knew exactly what IBM wanted and he cracked a deal with IBM at his terms. Gates fabricated the deal to suit his ambitions. With the agreement in place, all the IBM machines would use his operating system – Ms-DOS (Gates had bought this operating system from another software company for $50,000 with all rights exclusive).
With the brand reach of IBM, Ms-DOS was an instant hit and Microsoft earned a hefty bounty during its sales. The easy to use Ms-DOS became the industry standard and because of this, the popularity and sales of APPLE 2 started to decline. Apple now was into a fierce contest with Microsoft and it was a fight for existence.
The best thing about the greatest minds is that they never let it go. Even if the odds are not in their favour, they work day and night to achieve what they want. Steve Jobs was no different, only death could have stopped him from not trying again. He decided that if APPLE has to stay in the game, an out of box innovation was required. APPLE had to create a market segment in which no other players even existed. This marked the inception of the revolutionary Macintosh series.
With a dedicated team and 2 years of hard work, Jobs came up with the beta version of the Macintosh. Macintosh was a machine which was about to revolutionize the world. With first ever Graphic User Interface (GUI), Macintosh was a beauty with brains. The last thing left in this ultimate machine was software and Jobs went for Microsoft. Given the secretive nature of the Macintosh project, his board members warned him about the trust issue they can face with Gates. But for Jobs no one was better than Gates. What Gates did for APPLE 2 was insanely great and no one else could have matched Gates and his abilities.
Maybe Jobs was about to make one of the biggest mistake in trusting Gates and considering him as an all-time ally. But no one knew how the story would unfold. Jobs was in no mood for compromise on the standards that he conceived Macintosh would set, so, he went for Gates and invited him to have a first look of the Macintosh in his office.
The very next day Gates was in Jobs office desk.
“Jobs (unveiling the Mac device): Text is history Gates. Mac (pause) is the future”.
Gates was speechless. He was seeing one of the greatest creations of mankind. Moving a mouse by his hands and opening dialogue boxes on clicking, the sound system, the video display and almost everything was new and unique. Gates felt an out of the world experience in his first encounter with Graphical User Interface (GUI). There was no way Gates could have done anything else than saying YES on working for Macintosh.
Gates knew that Mac was the future of computers and in no way he was going to be left behind. The very first thing that Gates would have thought was to rush to his Microsoft office and start developing his own GUI. And he did a similar thing; he instructed his team at Microsoft to work on another GUI operating system and named it WINDOWS even though, he was working for APPLE at that time. Gates was literally stealing under the nose of Steve Jobs and by the end of couple of months Gates had a prototype ready for his Windows operating system.
Jobs was very late when he came to know about Windows. Angry, furious and betrayed, Jobs called in to meet Gates.
“Jobs (angry): This is how you treat your friends……I trusted you Bill. I brought you in the APPLE 2. I even brought you in the Macintosh. We had a partnership……We had a deal that you agreed to. And you are stealing from us. How could you be so MEAN?
Gates: Steve, I MEAN only business.”
Jobs left the room and it was Gates who did the dirty job. But the rivalry was not confined to these heated arguments. The man who Jobs thought was an ally had declared a war.
Gates only had the prototype of Windows while Jobs had a product ready to sell, except the fact that Mac still required certain tweaks to have a standard and fast performance. Gates realised that best chances of forcing Steve to make a mistake was to become the first one to present the GUI operating system to the world.
Gates organised an event where he presented the prototype of GUI Windows and made a promise of coming up with a complete product soon. Now having lost the initial battles it became imperative for Steve to release the Mac before it gets too late. Steve knew that Mac needed a few improvements but the game plan of Gates left him with no option other than to launch the Mac.
Steve Jobs had a natural talent for marketing. He made the launch ceremony of Mac a historical event. The world almost forgot that Gates had already presented the idea of GUI. It was the sheer grandeur with which Jobs launched the Macintosh, made the crowd go crazy for this new product. It seemed that Gates’s moves were backfiring. People compared the launch of windows prototype and launch of Mac. The launch of Mac was way more appealing and professional with a complete ready to sell product. This brought in more applause for Mac.
With such reactions from the public it appeared that Gates was ignorant and short sighted when he decided to pitch in his prototype before Mac. But this was just what appeared, and appearances can be deceptive. In fact, Gates played a well-planned game. Working on Mac, Gates knew that the machine was not completely ready and still had flaws in it, which were enough to create a bad user experience. So, when Gates presented his prototype so early, he left Jobs with no choice than to launch the Mac as it was with its flaws. And to Gates delight Mac was launched and the problems started to pop up as early as they could have.
The Mac computer, as the users figured out, was slow in processing capabilities and hence, started struggling to find buyers. The industrial unit was designed to sell 80,000 units a month but the sales fell to just 500 units a month. Apple’s stock fell to half its price. This was a horrible nightmare for Jobs and his company.
Just the moment at which one would start thinking that “It can’t get worse”, Bill Gates placed the last nail in the coffin. Gates timed the launch of Windows so well, that it left Apple with no answers and no room for comeback. The cheap, fast, compatible and efficient Windows was an instant hit in the market. The craze for windows made the market share of Apple shrink to just 4% of its earlier value.
This made Steve Jobs furious, angry and frustrated which was reflected in his work culture as well. He started antagonising people and was pouring in money and resources into various projects which were nowhere near to become an answer to Windows. The Apple board of directors felt there was no need in keeping Jobs around and ultimately he was kicked out of his own company.
This might have been the moment when Jobs would have realised, how BIG the game run by Gates was and how he fell prey to Gates’s tactics completely.
Even Gates would not have realised that his “dirty job became even dirtier “.
To be continued……..
Gates might have trumped down Steve Jobs, but it’s never over until you die……..