After Steve Jobs' passing, Bill Gates and the media tactlessly speak out.
I've been wondering how long it would take Bill Gates to strike back at the media and mavens who have spent the last two weeks praising Steve Jobs' life and legacy. Gates was further irked by a new biography that made sure Jobs got his last few digs in, needling Gates about his lack of good taste.
Jobs, years back, made a public declaration about Gates and Microsoft being tasteless entities that didn't know or even care about refinement. It galled Gates. Jobs stopped making such remarks when Microsoft came in during his return to Apple to help bail out the company with a big cash loan. Jobs was very subdued for years after that.
Once the loan was paid back, you could see Jobs begin to seethe over this taste issue and the fact that Microsoft could not think independently. The final assessment ended up in the Jobs biography; Gates is portrayed as a schmuck.
Well, everyone had to know that Gates could not be happy about this. He was even a guest at the Jobs memorial. So what was he going to do about it without looking mean-spirited? And how does he handle this without taking an obvious swipe at someone who is deceased and cannot answer back? [RELATED_ARTICLE]
The Gates PR machine, which is always waiting in the wings to pounce if needed, was apparently called into action.
Hitting the streets over the past day or so are a slew of stories that let the media come to Gates' defense like dogs fending off an intruder. I'm not sure what triggered all these pieces but in many instances, I can assure you, the glowing articles were written in exchange for access to The Great One, Bill.
I know for a fact that some journalists have been invited to Gate's palatial Lake Washington mansion for "dinner" or "cocktails." This, to me, is an out-and-out bribe, but one that is invaluable. McDonald's burger: $2. Meal at The French Laundry: $300. Dinner at Bill Gates' home: Priceless.
Thus all the ethical considerations promoted by major media are null and void. Someday, I need to revisit my thoughts on how taking a $26 T-shirt is an ethical violation of journalistic principles but accepting an invitation to Bill Gates' house is okay by these bogus standards. But I digress.
Whatever the case, a series of puff pieces appeared out of the blue telling us how The Great Bill Gates has been short-sheeted by all the Jobs coverage. Oh! The Humanity! What could be worse than this!?
Here are a few headlines that I isolated over the past day:
- "Bill Gates fifth most powerful person in the world, says Forbes," from the Seattle Times
- "Idolize Bill Gates, Not Steve Jobs," demands Bloomberg Businessweek
- "How Can Anyone Still Hate Bill Gates?" asks Forbes
- "Bill Gates, not Steve Jobs, is the real hero: Steve Jobs was a great CEO, but Bill Gates has moved beyond technology and is trying to save the world. Why isn't he getting more recognition?" reports InfoWorld
- "Forget Apple, Microsoft Is The Sleeping Giant" says Seeking Alpha
This actually gets worse as Gates says in an interview saying he helped invent the Mac. This is rich and, while it may be true on some meaningless level, it's not something you ever want to say after a funeral. Maybe in five years, but apparently Gates cannot wait that long.
Now, I do not advise any of the technology hotshots on how to run their lives or how to run their PR efforts, but this sort of thing hurts Gates' image. The PR efforts should have been handled differently. All this does is make Gates look immature and petty. Although the increasingly naïve public may think that these articles are all spontaneous and a coincidence, that is always a sorry and pathetic possibility.
Let me assure the doubters that such is not the case.
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