OK, we can finally let you in on a secret we’ve been keeping here at GeekWire: A “60 Minutes” crew has been in Seattle working on a piece about Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, his new book “Idea Man” and his complicated relationship with Bill Gates.

We’ve known about this because John and I were asked by the 60 Minutes producers to help with background information on Microsoft, Allen’s ventures, his role in the Seattle community, and the Gates-Allen partnership. We also spent time talking with correspondent Lesley Stahl when she was here — a memorable experience that only increased our respect for her as a journalist.

The piece airs Sunday, and a preview just went up on the 60 Minutes site with some interesting nuggets from Stahl’s interview with Allen. They are his first public comments since the controversy surrounding his candid portrayal of Bill Gates in the book, which reportedly has caused a “rift” between the longtime friends.

In the preview, Stahl asks him if it’s a “revenge book.” Allen answers, “It’s not about that. I just felt like it’s an important piece of technology history, and I should tell it like it happened, and hopefully people understand and respect that.”

About his relationship with Gates, he says, “There’s a bond there that can’t be denied, and I think we both feel that.”

At the end of the clip, he says he and Gates haven’t yet talked about the book, but they’ll no doubt have a discussion at some point, and Allen doesn’t think there will be any need to apologize.

In a related writeup on the 60 Minutes site, Allen addresses the controversy surrounding his patent lawsuit against Google, Apple, Facebook and other tech titans: “I guess I find [the criticism] somewhat surprising, because I invested a huge amount to develop these ideas,” he says.

John and I don’t expect to be in the segment, but there’s a chance you might spot us in some of the related online materials after the piece airs.

By the way, I’ll also be interviewing Allen on stage April 22 at Town Hall Seattle. Advance tickets are sold out, but some will be available at the door if you’re interested in hearing me quiz the man himself.

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline


  • http://profiles.google.com/smithkl42 Ken Smith

    I guess my problem with our patent system can be summarized by saying, “I don’t care if he invested a lot of money to develop these ideas. He didn’t monetize them successfully, or at all, to the best of my understanding, and the people who did monetize them didn’t in any way steal them from him. They developed them independently, and managed to execute successfully on them. Paul Allen has zero moral claim on these successful companies’ profits.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/kmorrill Kevin Morrill

    It’s unfortunate the story has been dominated so much about Allen leaving Microsoft after his diagnosis. There have got to be so many more interesting stories about their creations together in the early days, as well as what he’s done since. I am excited to read the book myself.

  • http://eyejot.com/users/davidg davidgeller

    Looking forward to Sunday!

  • Anonymous

    Wow, this makes a whole lot of sense dude. Very good stuff indeed.

  • ProphetJimi

    The censored and suppressed truth about Mr. Allen is described in detail at the website rockprophecy com (add dot). Allen’s so-called “feud” with Mr. Bill is a staged charade arranged to cover for the Gates Foundation requirement to their many media beneficiaries that these news organizations receive payola funds on specific condition that the Rock Prophecy book be suppressed and concealed, and Michael Fairchild be persecuted with no media reporting this travesty by Microsoft. By staging this “disagreement” ploy between Allen and Gates their aim is to be able to say, “But why would the Gates Foundation help Paul Allen by suppressing Mr. Fairchild? Allen and Gates are adversaries.” Their fake “rift” is ruse used to smokescreen the wholesale and shameful censorship of an extremely important story named Rock Prophecy.

Job Listings on GeekWork