Even though Steve was a fierce competitor, he actually drew the line at taking advantage of competitors’ demo woes. I remember one time during the “think different” years when Bill Gates suffered a terrible failure demoing a new Microsoft technology. We at the agency thought it would make a very funny commercial for Apple. It seemed like an idea being handed to us on a silver platter. We would simply show Gates failing and end the ad with a clever line about Apple.

Steve laughed — but he rejected it immediately. He said that demo crashes are an unavoidable part of the business, and that his own demos could fail as easily as Gates’. He didn’t want to taunt Gates for something that was beyond his control. (He was, however, eager to taunt the man for all the things he did on purpose.)