NEW YORK — Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen defends his new book in Sunday’s episode of “60 Minutes,” saying it was meant as an important slice of technology history and not as revenge against Bill Gates.
In an interview with Lesley Stahl of “60 Minutes,” Allen, 58, said he wanted to tell that history the way it happened. He said he hopes people understand and respect that.
In the book, Allen writes about difficult years working with Gates during the early years of Microsoft Corp. He recounts overhearing Gates talking to current CEO Steve Ballmer about reducing Allen’s stake in the company — while Allen was undergoing cancer treatment in 1982. Allen left Microsoft in 1983 as a multi-billionaire.
“Unable to stand it any longer, I burst in on them and shouted, ‘This is unbelievable! It shows your true character, once and for all.’ I was speaking to both of them, but staring straight at Bill,” writes Allen in an excerpt of the book published online last month by Vanity Fair magazine.
But for all the harsh pictures he paints of Gates, Allen reveals another side, too, in the “60 Minutes” interview. Gates, who now focuses on philanthropy, comforted Allen when he got cancer a second time in 2009. Says Allen: “There’s a bond there that can’t be denied.”
CBS Corp. posted a video excerpt of that interview on its website and made other portions available in a press release.
Allen told Stahl the timing of the book “had nothing to do with the many wonderful things Bill has done. … The timing was because I wanted to see if I could do it and hopefully be alive to see it published.”
Allen was diagnosed in the early 1980s with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which he beat. In 2009 he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and underwent chemotherapy. Tests in September 2010 showed he was free of cancer.
Allen’s book, “Idea Man,” hits stores Tuesday. The “60 Minutes” episode airs at 7 p.m. on Sunday.
In addition to talking about his memoir, Allen also lets cameras inside his office and his home, and his collections that range from the guitar Jimi Hendrix played at Woodstock to vintage war planes and a 300-foot yacht with its own submarine.