In their rare joint appearance at All Things Digital 5, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates discussed their contributions to the technology industry - an industry that has evolved dramatically in the few short years that have passed since their joint appearance on that stage.
Changing technologies and consumer preferences have, indeed, sparked a global transition in personal computing from the desktop screen to the mobile screen. It's a reality that has benefited some companies - like Apple - while penalizing others - like Microsoft.
As a result of these seismic shifts in personal computing, Apple is poised to - and will soon - replace Microsoft in a category that it largely created. Apple will surpass Windows (on a worldwide basis) with regard to annual personal computing units sold.
"In Q4," says analyst Benedict Evans, "Apple sold 75 million iOS devices and 4.1 million Macs. Most estimates of total PC (including Mac) sales in the same period were around 90 million. In other words, Apple is now (in peak quarters) selling as many computing devices as Windows. This trend is not going to change."
When you do the math, Apple's new quarterly sales averages have already accelerated to a level that is presently nearing 90 percent of the quarterly sales logged by Windows, the longtime gold standard of mainstream personal computing. But within a very short period of time, Apple's numbers will leapfrog those of Microsoft's.
"Almost as interesting as this milestone is how, well, boring and predictable it feels," Evans observes. "That war was over a long time ago."
Although... I don't think anyone thought it was "over" when Jobs and Gates last shared the stage together.