If you were to time travel from the 1990s you could be excused for thinking that you had ended up in a parallel universe where everything you knew and loved was reversed.
In the 1990s, Microsoft’s Bill Gates was the evil bloke who used Microsoft’s power to shut down everything that stood in the way of its operating system’s market dominance. Apple was the hippy clown which peddled interesting looking gear for creative people.
However, as the Daily Show has pointed out, Apple has become “the Man” making gear in Chinese sweatshops and kicking down the door of the press while Bill Gates is now curing Malaria.
Gizmodo has been looking through the archives to find other strange role reversals.
It has found film of Bill Gates describing the future of computing, with Apple CEO Steve Jobs next to him. In the film there is an iPad-like device being used alongside an iPhone-like device. However, it is Jobs who says the future was the PC not these gizmos.
Gates’ idea of the future of computing was that people will have several devices. There will be a full-screen device that you can carry around and you’ll do dramatically more reading off of that.
Then you’ll have the device that fits in your pocket, with navigation, media, and it’s a phone too.
Jobs laughed and said everything will be PC based, maybe used a little more tightly coupled with some back-end internet services and stuff like that.
He said that PCs would go mobile in an ever greater degree, but it will be the PC which was going to continue. Whatever shape it is, most people will have a PC.
Nowadays, Steve Jobs thinks that the iPad is the future and the traditional PC is dying. Some traditional PC folks feel like their world is slipping away.
At the time Jobs was banging on about the PC as being the digital hub with specialised devices like the iPod orbiting around it. He seems to have been caught on the hop when one of his gizmos, the iPhone did a lot better than he expected.
The deep irony here is that all this was predicted by Gates and not Jobs. Gates is famous for not seeing the rise of the internet until it was too late, but it seems he was right about this one.
Microsoft, however was unable to get anyone to see things like the tablet as being worthwhile. It has been pushing them for years but no one was interested. What Jobs worked out was that the key was to make them part of a locked in package which initially looks cheap enough but requires you to buy lots of software from Apple to make it useful.