Malcolm Gladwell says Steve Jobs will be forgotten, Bill Gates remembered

"Tipping Point" author Malcolm Gladwell.
Brooke Williams
"Tipping Point" author Malcolm Gladwell.
Brooke Williams

(CBS News) In 50 years will you remember Steve Jobs? According to Malcolm Gladwell, author of "The Tipping Point," no one will.

In a recent talk at the Toronto Public Library's Appel Salon, Gladwell said that Jobs, the late Apple co-founder, will likely be forgotten for his contributions to the technology industry. The author suggests that entrepreneurs, like Jobs, aren't worth being idolized.

Gladwell does, however, think that Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates will be remembered, but for his philanthropy not entrepreneurship.

"Gates is the most ruthless capitalist, and then he wakes up one morning and he says, 'enough.' And he steps down, he takes his money, he takes it off the table," said Gladwell. "I firmly believe that 50 years from now, [Gates] will be remembered for his charitable work, no one will even remember what Microsoft is."

Gladwell is referring to Gates' charitable work, which he has been increasingly focused on after stepping down as Microsoft's chief executive officer. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have given over $2.6 billion in grants to causes around the world since 1994.

"And of the great entrepreneurs of this era people will have forgotten Steve Jobs. Who's Steve Jobs again? There will be statues of Gates across the third world."

Gladwell's scrutiny doesn't seem to be an attack on Jobs, but rather a sharp criticism of how business-leaders are celebrated.

"[W]e need to be clear when we venerate entrepreneurs what we are venerating," said Gladwell. "They are not moral leaders. If they were moral leaders they wouldn't be great businessmen. So when a businessman is a great moral leader, it is because they have maintained their conscience separately from their operations."