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《乔布斯传》节选:当乔布斯遇上盖茨

沃尔特•艾萨克森 2011年10月26日

史蒂夫•乔布斯和比尔•盖茨之间的恩怨情仇堪称亦敌亦友关系的最佳注解。本文独家节选自沃尔特•艾萨克森的新书《乔布斯传》,回顾了二人相识的经历。《乔布斯传》已于10月24日全球同步上市。

    

    比尔•盖茨与史蒂夫•乔布斯之间错综复杂的关系始于上世纪70年代末,那时微软(Microsoft)的主要收入来源还是为Apple II电脑编写软件。80年代初,乔布斯开始开发最早的麦金塔电脑,希望微软能为它创造一套BASIC语言(即简单易用的编程语言),并开发一些应用软件,比如文档、图表和数据处理程序。因此,他乘飞机前去西雅图附近的微软办公室,与盖茨会面,向后者阐述了麦金塔的迷人前景:它将是一款为大众而开发的电脑,拥有图形化的友好界面。盖茨与乔布斯签约,同意为后者开发生动形象的新版数据表和文字处理软件,分别称为Excel和Word,再加上BASIC语言。

    此后,盖茨经常前去库比蒂诺的苹果(Apple)总部,观看麦金塔操作系统的实际展示效果,但他并不是很满意。“我记得我们首次前往苹果总部时,乔布斯展示了一款软件——一些东西在屏幕上蹦来蹦去,”他告诉我。“那是当时唯一一款能够运行的软件。”乔布斯的态度也让盖茨不太自在。“那就像是一种诡异的‘诱惑之旅’,乔布斯想告诉我们的是,我们并不真的需要你。我们这件产品非常了不起,只不过不能完全透露给你看。他落入了史蒂夫•乔布斯的推销模式,这种模式下,他放佛在说,‘我不需要你,但我或许会给你机会,让你参与进来。’”

    不过,对于微软为麦金塔开发图形化软件的前景,两人都深感振奋,认为这将把个人电脑带到一个新的发展阶段,微软调集了大量人员,专门负责此项工作。“我们从事麦金塔电脑相关开发的人员比苹果还多,”盖茨说。尽管乔布斯觉得这些微软程序员流露出来的品味不怎么样,但他们坚持不懈的精神值得嘉许。“他们拿出来的应用软件起初非常糟糕,”乔布斯回忆说,“但他们继续努力,越做越好。”

    乔布斯与其员工互动的方式飘忽不定,颇有偏执狂之风,盖茨看在眼里,觉得他那几次库比蒂诺之旅很是有趣。“史蒂夫火力全开,狂开空头支票,放言麦金塔将改变世界,疯狂地让手下员工加班再加班。公司里的气氛非常紧张,人际关系也很复杂。”与盖茨在一起的时候,乔布斯有时原本非常亢奋,随后却突然低落下来,向盖茨吐露自己的恐惧。“那时候,周五我们常去库比蒂诺,与乔布斯共进晚餐。乔布斯总是会不遗余力地兜售,说一切都非常完美。可到了第二天,他百分百会像换了个人似的,开始焦虑不堪,‘哦,天哪,这东西能卖出去吗?哦,天哪,我得提高价格才行。实在是太对不住了,我的团队里都是一帮傻瓜。’”

    当时,微软正在生产称为DOS的著名操作系统,并授权给IBM和各种兼容机使用。该系统建立于老式命令行界面之上,用户需要与干巴巴的提示性语言打交道,比如C:\>之类。乔布斯及其团队与微软开始密切合作之后,开始越来越担心,微软可能会抄袭麦金塔的图形化用户界面,推出相似的版本。麦金塔最初开发团队的成员安迪•赫茨菲尔德回忆说,微软当时负责与他联系的人问的问题太过细致,总想了解麦金塔操作系统的具体运作方式。“我告诉史蒂夫,我怀疑微软可能会复制麦金塔,”赫茨菲尔德称。

    他们的担心并非没有道理。盖茨认为,图形化界面乃是未来发展方向,苹果和微软一样,完全有权根据这一理念开发自己的产品。毕竟,归根结底,这一理念也不是苹果的原创,而是施乐帕克研究中心(Xerox PARC)的杰作。因此,盖茨事后坦率地承认,“我们基本上就是说,‘嘿,我们也看好图形界面,我们也见识过施乐Alto啊。’”

    在最初的协议中,乔布斯说服了盖茨,让后者承诺:直至麦金塔电脑于1983年1月上市之后一年,微软不得为苹果之外的任何公司开发图形化软件。苹果有点不走运,因为这一协议并未考虑到麦金塔发布日期可能会延迟一年时间,也就没有相关条款。因此,盖茨1983年11月宣布,微软将会为IBM的个人电脑开发一款新型操作系统,以窗口、图标和鼠标点击式操作方法为特征,强调图形化界面,称为Windows——根据协议,他有权这么做。

    乔布斯勃然大怒。他知道自己没什么办法改变盖茨的决定,但他需要发泄。“快把盖茨给我叫来,”他命令迈克•贝尔奇——苹果与其他软件公司联络及宣传的负责人。盖茨单刀赴会,一副很愿意与乔布斯讨论这个问题的姿态。“他把我叫过去,对我大发脾气,”盖茨回忆说,“我赶到库比蒂诺,就像是奉命去作御前演出。我告诉他,‘我们正在开发Windows’我还对他说,‘我们正把公司的命运押注于图形界面之上’。”

    这次会面发生于乔布斯的会议上,盖茨一到那儿,就发现那里围了十个苹果员工,全都迫切希望看到自己的老板是怎样教训盖茨的。乔布斯也没有让手下失望。“你这是在窃取我们的成果!”他怒吼道,“亏我这么信任你,你现在竟敢从我们这里偷东西!”盖茨安然坐在那里,直视着乔布斯的眼睛,然后用他那尖细的嗓音吐出了一句极为经典的反驳。“唔,史蒂夫,我觉得这个问题可以换一个角度去看。我想事情是这样的,我们都有个富裕的邻居,名叫施乐。有一天我闯进了他家,企图偷走他的电视机,却发现你已经捷足先登。”

    节选自沃尔特•艾萨克森2011年新书《乔布斯传》(Steve Jobs),本文获得了沃尔特•艾萨克森和西蒙-舒斯特出版公司(Simon & Schuster Inc)的授权。

    如想了解盖茨-乔布斯更多恩怨情仇,以及他们最终分道扬镳的内幕,请购买11月7日号出版的《财富》杂志(Fortune),或通过iTunes商店订购该刊iPad版本。

    译者:小宇

    The complex relationship between Bill Gates and Steve Jobs began in the late 1970s, when Microsoft was making most of its money writing software for the Apple II. When Jobs began developing the original Macintosh in the early 1980s, he wanted Microsoft to create for it a version of BASIC, an easy-to-use programming language, as well as some application software, such as word processing, charts, and spreadsheet programs. So he flew up to visit Gates in his office near Seattle and spun an enticing vision of what the Macintosh would be: a computer for the masses, with a friendly graphical interface. Gates signed on to do graphical versions of a new spreadsheet called Excel, a word-processing program called Word, as well as BASIC.

    Gates frequently went down to Cupertino for demonstrations of the Macintosh operating system, and he was not very impressed. "I remember the first time we went down, Steve had this app where it was just things bouncing around on the screen," he told me. "That was the only app that ran." Gates was also put off by Jobs's attitude. "It was kind of a weird seduction visit where Steve was saying we don't really need you and we're doing this great thing, and it's under the cover. He's in his Steve Jobs sales mode, but kind of the sales mode that also says, 'I don't need you, but I might let you be involved.'"

    Both men were excited by the prospect that Microsoft would create graphical software for the Macintosh that would take personal computing into a new realm, and Microsoft dedicated a large team to the task. "We had more people working on the Mac than he did," Gates said. And even though Jobs felt that they didn't exhibit much taste, the Microsoft programmers were persistent. "They came out with applications that were terrible," Jobs recalled, "but they kept at it and they made them better."

    Gates enjoyed his visits to Cupertino, where he got to watch Jobs interact erratically with his employees and display his obsessions. "Steve was in his ultimate pied piper mode, proclaiming how the Mac will change the world and overworking people like mad, with incredible tensions and complex personal relationships." Sometimes Jobs would begin on a high, then lapse into sharing his fears with Gates. "We'd go down Friday night, have dinner, and Steve would just be promoting that everything is great. Then the second day, without fail, he'd be kind of, 'oh shit, is this thing going to sell, oh God, I have to raise the price, I'm sorry I did that to you, and my team is a bunch of idiots'."

    At the time, Microsoft was producing an operating system, known as DOS, which it licensed to IBM (IBM) and compatible computers. It was based on an old-fashioned command line interface that confronted users with surly little prompts such as C:\>. As Jobs and his team began to work closely with Microsoft, they grew worried that it would copy Macintosh's graphical user interface and make its own version. Andy Hertzfeld, a member of the original Macintosh team, noticed that his contact at Microsoft was asking too many detailed questions about how the Macintosh operating system worked. "I told Steve that I suspected that Microsoft was going to clone the Mac," Hertzfeld recalled.

    They were right to worry. Gates believed that graphical interfaces were the future and that Microsoft (MSFT) had just as much right as Apple (AAPL) did to pursue the desktop metaphor idea that had, after all, had been originally developed at Xerox PARC (XRX), not at Apple. As he freely admitted later, "We sort of say, 'hey, we believe in graphics interfaces, we saw the Xerox Alto, too'."

    In their original deal, Jobs had convinced Gates to agree that Microsoft would not create graphical software for anyone other than Apple until a year after the Macintosh shipped in January 1983. Unfortunately for Apple, it did not provide for the possibility that the Macintosh launch would be delayed for a year. So Gates was within his rights when he revealed, in November 1983, that Microsoft planned to develop a new operating system for IBM PCs -- featuring a graphical interface with windows, icons, and a mouse for point-and-click navigation -- called Windows.

    Jobs was furious. He knew there was little he could do about it, but he lashed out nonetheless. "Get Gates down here immediately," he ordered Mike Boich, who was Apple's evangelist to other software companies. Gates came down -- alone and willing to discuss things with Jobs. "He called me down to get pissed off at me," Gates recalled. "I went down to Cupertino, like a command performance. I told him, 'we're doing Windows.' I said to him, 'we're betting our company on graphics interface'."

    Their meeting was in Jobs's conference room, where Gates found himself surrounded by ten Apple employees who were eager to watch their boss assail him. Jobs didn't disappoint his troops. "You're ripping us off!" he shouted. "I trusted you, and now you're stealing from us!" Gates just sat there coolly, looking Steve in the eye, before hurling back, in his squeaky voice, what became a classic zinger. "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."

    From Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson Copyright © 2011 by Walter Isaacson. Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster Inc.

    To read more about the fascinating Gates-Jobs relationship, and their poignant final hours together, pick up the November 7 issue of Fortune or purchase the iPad edition of the issue in the iTunes store.

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