Rolling Stones today published an extensive interview with Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, in which the man himself reveals a few interesting tidbits. It turns out Microsoft was also interested in WhatsApp and Gates has a lot of praise for Zuckerberg:
Apparently, Google was looking at it.
Yeah, yeah. Microsoft was willing to buy it, too. . . . I don’t know if it was for $19 billion, but the company’s extremely valuable.
You mentioned Mark Zuckerberg. When you look at what he’s done, do you see some of yourself in him?
Oh, sure. We’re both Harvard dropouts, we both had strong, stubborn views of what software could do. I give him more credit for shaping the user interface of his product. He’s more of a product manager than I was. I’m more of a coder, down in the bowels and the architecture, than he is. But, you know, that’s not that major of a difference. I start with architecture, and Mark starts with products, and Steve Jobs started with aesthetics.
Gates also talks about how Zuckerberg was wise to be so aggressive with WhatsApp, though he does mention that “the price is higher than I would have expected.” When asked about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, Gates says he doesn’t admire him.