As he often did when he wanted to have a serious conversation, Jobs suggested they go on a long walk.
They trekked the streets of Cupertino, back and forth to De Anza college,
stopping at a diner and then walking some more.
"We had to take a walk, which is not one of my management techniques," Gates said.
"That was when he began saying things like,
'Okay, okay, but don't make it too much like what we're doing.'"
As it turned out, Microsoft wasn't able to get Windows 1.0 ready for shipping until the fall of 1985.
Even then, it was a shoddy product.
It lacked the elegance of the Macintosh interface,
and it had tiled windows rather than the magical clipping of overlapping windows that Bill Atkinson had devised.
Reviewers ridiculed it and consumers spurned it.
Nevertheless, as is often the case with Microsoft products, persistence eventually made Windows better and then dominant.
Jobs never got over his anger.
"They just ripped us off completely, because Gates has no shame," Jobs told me almost thirty years later.
Upon hearing this, Gates responded,
"If he believes that, he really has entered into one of his own reality distortion fields."
In a legal sense, Gates was right, as courts over the years have subsequently ruled.
And on a practical level, he had a strong case as well.
Even though Apple made a deal for the right to use what it saw at Xerox PARC,
it was inevitable that other companies would develop similar graphical interfaces.
As Apple found out, the "look and feel" of a computer interface design is a hard thing to protect.
And yet Jobs's dismay was understandable.
Apple had been more innovative, imaginative, elegant in execution, and brilliant in design.
But even though Microsoft created a crudely copied series of products,
it would end up winning the war of operating systems.
This exposed an aesthetic flaw in how the universe worked:
The best and most innovative products don't always win.
A decade later, this truism caused Jobs to let loose a rant that was somewhat arrogant and over-the-top,
but also had a whiff of truth to it.
"The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste, they have absolutely no taste," he said.
"I don't mean that in a small way.
I mean that in a big way, in the sense that they don't think of original ideas and they don't bring much culture into their product."