What Bill Gates Thought of the Apple’s iTunes Store Launch in 2003: Email

Image: @TechEmails on Twitter

Internal Tech Emails (@TechEmails) on Twitter recently shared a little gem from 2003 — Bill Gates’ reaction to the launch of the iTunes Music Store, a platform that is a bit shy of two decades old today, in a company email to other Microsoft execs.

“Steve Jobs ability to focus in on a few things that count, get people who get user interface right, and market things as revolutionary are amazing things,” the admiration wrapped in respect and shrouded in contention is quite clear from Gates’ words.

The world has already seen what Jobs had to say about the iTunes Music Store, but this email gives us a look at how the CEO of one of Apple’s biggest competitors at the time reacted to the launch.

Gates was not only surprised by the fact that Apple entered the music space, but also how Apple entered the music space. It wouldn’t be a stretch to assume that the rest of the tech industry had a similar outlook on the event.

The Microsoft CEO was obviously (and understandably) frazzled by how good a licensing deal Jobs was able to score for his platform, leading to him second-guessing the path Microsoft and many others in the industry had chosen to take.

Also easily inferred from the email is that Gates wanted to do what Jobs was doing with the iTunes Music Store so that Microsoft could compete in the same arena, but the latter’s CEO didn’t have a game plan (yet).

The email originally became public knowledge during the proceedings of Comes vs. Microsoft Corportaion (2000), a class-action lawsuit alleging that the latter violated Iowa’s antitrust laws by with its monopolistic practices in the PC space, primarily fueled by the dominance of its Windows Operating System.