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Bill and Ballmer have lingering beef over Microsoft’s hardware push

Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer are arguably the two most iconic figures in the history of Microsoft. Now it appears the former CEOs aren’t on great terms.

In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Ballmer said he and Gates have “drifted apart” since both left the software giant in a day-to-day capacity.

He said: “Microsoft was kind of the thing that really bound us… since I’ve gone we really have drifted a little bit.”

Ironically, it seems it wasn’t software decisions that came between the pair, it was Ballmer’s desire to push Microsoft into the hardware business.

He added the pair had a “fundamental disagreement” about the importance of Microsoft’s Surface and smartphone endeavours.

There was a fundamental disagreement about how important it was to be in the hardware business,” says Ballmer.

“I had pushed Surface, the board had been a little reluctant in supporting it, and things came to a climax about what to do about the phone business.”

Related: Surface Pro 5 – Everything you need to know

While the Surface line has been a huge success for Microsoft, Ballmer has been heavily criticised for Microsoft’s ill-fated purchase of Nokia’s devices division.

He said although the Microsoft board disagreed initially it decided to “go ahead even though I had decided to leave.”

Commenting further on the relationship with Gates, Ballmer said his first year as CEO was “miserable” because “Bill didn’t know how to work for anyone and I didn’t want to manage him.”

The relationship changed for the better when Gates left the company in 2008.

Video: Microsoft’s October event in under 2 minutes

Has Ballmer been vindicated over his decision to take Microsoft into the hardware business? Share your thoughts in the comments below

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