I was actually touched by the piece! Gates is a decent human, as he truly understands what competition is all about and separates it from personal level issues. Jobs had bad mouthed his competitors too much but it is not necessary, as the ultimate judges are consumers, not CEOs of competing firms. By writing this letter Gates has brought out the best out of healthy competition, even tough guys like Jobs was moved by it. We all should learn from Gates by setting up boundaries across domains. Rationality means bounded choices: the more institutionalized and transparent boundaries the better we can resist totalitarianism like the system in China: government is everywhere from family affairs to running economy.
Gates didnt disclose many details about the contents of the letter, but he said, “I told Steve about how he should feel great about what he had done and the company he had built. I wrote about his kids, whom I had got to know.”
Gates makes it clear that this wasn’t any sort of peacemaking effort — “There was no peace to make. We were not at war. We made great products, and competition was always a positive thing.”
After Jobs died, Gates got a phone call from his wife, Laurene Powell. She said, “Look, this biography really doesn’t paint a picture of the mutual respect you had.”
Then she added that Steve had appreciated his letter and kept it by his bed.