I’m not going to try to mduplicate the saturation blog coverage of Bill Gates’ and Steve Jobs’ joint appearence at Dow Jones’ D5: All Things Digital conference Wednesday. But both omitted one very important fact from their mutual history.
As recounted by Jobs and Gates, the historic 1997 Apple-Microsoft agreement was an expression of mutual love and respect that settled some obscure patent disputes and created a new market opportunity for Microsoft’s applications software. Both avoided mentioning the key piece of the deal, Microsoft’s $150 million investment in restricted Apple stock.
That part was critical to Apple because the company was within weeks of running out of cash and was not regarded as creditworthy. The cash infusion kept Apple alive to move on to its current success—and turned out to be a highly profitable investment for Microsoft.