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Mac TV ads: Gates loses cool

A tale of egos, fortunes, and potty training

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

As we've reported before, with its three per cent market share Apple has a fiendishly difficult job trying to persuade the 97 per cent of the market who use Windows that they're being stupid, without telling them that they're being stupid.

But Bill has an itch to scratch, and off he goes.

"And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it's superior," fumes Gates.

"I don't even get it. What are they trying to say? Does honesty matter in these things, or if you're really cool, that means you get to be a lying person whenever you feel like it? There's not even the slightest shred of truth to it."

Pot, meet kettle.

The problem for Gates, which his minders must be now ruing, is quite straightforward.

When you're the market leader, you can never, ever be permitted to be annoyed by a rival. Even when your market share lead is a fraction of a per cent, to show any kind of irritation by a rival (however exaggerated the claim) is not only bad manners, but suggestive of some kind of insecurity.

The most insecure person in the PC business has just exposed his rival as being even more insecure than he is, and I bet Steve Jobs - as an austere fruitarian - will be waving an organic carrot around in triumph this evening.

We'd leave it there, but for this awkward factoid. If Jobs is so annoyed with Gates for stealing his vision, taste, and brilliance at execution - why does he still talk to him?

Rather than developing his own uniquely brilliant office technology, when Jobs returned to Apple he went grovelling to Gates to secure Microsoft's continued development of Microsoft Office for Mac and Microsoft Internet Explorer for Mac.

And yet Jobs casts his biological sister into purgatory - for revealing that Great Men take Dumps. You can rip off my ideas and my style, Jobs seems to be suggesting, and I'll forgive you. But don't ever, EVER, suggest I have a bodily function.

In an ideal world, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates would be granted a late night cable channel of their own devising. There they could create hugely expensive advertising campains about each other, and where we would never have to see either of these two hugely unappealing characters ever again. ®

Bootnote: "He was a man too busy too flush toilets... He didn't believe in deodorant and often professed that with a proper diet and the peppermint castile soap, you would neither perspire nor smell". So begins Mona Simpson's novel An Ordinary Guy (1996)

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