After informing Gassée that Apple was buying NeXT, Amelio had what turned out to be an even more uncomfortable task: telling Bill Gates.
"He went into orbit," Amelio recalled. Gates found it ridiculous, but perhaps not surprising, that Jobs had pulled off this coup.
"Do you really think Steve Jobs has anything there?" Gates asked Amelio.
"I know his technology, it's nothing but a warmed-over UNIX, and you'll never be able to make it work on your machines."
Gates, like Jobs, had a way of working himself up, and he did so now:
"Don't you understand that Steve doesn't know anything about technology?
He's just a super salesman. I can't believe you're making such a stupid decision...
He doesn't know anything about engineering, and 99% of what he says and thinks is wrong.
What the hell are you buying that garbage for?"
Years later, when I raised it with him, Gates did not recall being that upset.
The purchase of NeXT, he argued, did not really give Apple a new operating system.
"Amelio paid a lot for NeXT, and let's be frank, the NeXT OS was never really used."