Thirty years ago last Friday, Steve Jobs introduced the Macintosh to the world. About three months before that, Jobs took the stage at an Apple sales conference where he hosted the "Macintosh Software Dating Game." As revolutionary as the Mac was, it was important for Apple to get the support of big software players in order to see the platform to truly take off.
That said, the game's three contestants represented software companies that were extremely important in the '80s: Fred Gibbons from the Software Publishing Corporation, Mitchel Kapor from Lotus and a very young Bill Gates, who was wearing some comically big glasses.
This video is where Gates famously heaps praise upon the Mac. When Jobs asks him if the Mac will be the third industry standard, Gates replies:
Well to create a new standard it takes something that's not just a little bit different. It takes something that's really new and really captures people's imagination. And the Macintosh, of all the machines I've ever seen, is the only one that meets that standard.
Earlier in the video, Gates said that Microsoft in 1984 expects to get half of its revenues from Macintosh software, a statement which elicited a ridiculously giddy smile from Jobs.
Now what's interesting is that Jobs had given Gates early access to the Mac in exchange for a promise that Microsoft wouldn't ship "any software that used a mouse until at least one year after the first shipment of the Macintosh." That tidbit comes straight from Andy Hertzfeld, one of the original Mac team members.
Just one month later, however, Microsoft demoed Windows 1.0, mouse and all, at Comdex 1983. According to Hertzfeld, Jobs "went ballistic" when he found out.
And to think, Jobs and Gates were as thick as thieves just a few weeks earlier.
Following what Jobs likely categorized as a betrayal was a Jobs/Gates confrontation you may have heard before, with Gates defends Microsoft's actions.
As Hertzfeld recalls it:
"You're ripping us off!" Steve shouted, raising his voice even higher. "I trusted you, and now you're stealing from us!"
But Bill Gates just stood there coolly, looking Steve directly in the eye, before starting to speak in his squeaky voice.
"Well, Steve, I think there's more than one way of looking at it. I think it's more like we both had this rich neighbor named Xerox and I broke into his house to steal the TV set and found out that you had already stolen it."
Incidentally, before Jobs and Gates took the stage at the 2007 AllThingsD Conference, the dating game video clip was shown to the entire audience.