Paul Allen’s Billionaire Book Tour Continues with a “60 Minutes” Sitdown This Weekend

4/14/11Follow @curtwoodward

When you’re one of the richest people in the world, your autobiography gets the deluxe publicity rollout. Exhibit A is billionaire Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, whose new book, “Idea Man,” is about to hit the market.

The first excerpt, adapted in Vanity Fair, caused tons of headlines, mostly for its depiction of a heated fight with Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer—Allen accused them of trying to dilute his stake in the company while he had cancer, just before he left day-to-day duties behind.

Now comes the follow-up interview with 60 Minutes, which teased the segment today with a small story and video on its website. The interview was conducted by Lesley Stahl.

Among the glimpses we’re seeing now: Allen says the book was motivated not by revenge, but a desire to air his side of some major events in business and technology. “I just felt like it’s an important piece of technology history, and I should tell it like it happened,” he said.

Asked whether he and Gates will eventually have a bit of a showdown over what’s in the book, Allen said: “I don’t know about screaming, but I’m sure it’ll be a heated discussion.”

He also talks fondly about Gates visiting him while Allen was sick a second time with cancer. This goes to an element of the Vanity Fair excerpt that I thought was missed by a lot of the first-day coverage: Despite any sour feelings about old fights, it’s clear that Allen has some still-glowing feelings for his old partner. Like any good relationship, it’s complicated.

“There’s a bond there that can’t be denied, and I think we both feel that,” Allen said.

CBS said Stahl also digs into Allen’s recent wide-ranging patent suit against an array of big tech companies, and reports that Allen found the negative reaction “surprising, because I invested a huge amount to develop these ideas.” (60 Minutes also apparently got to check out the Octopus.)

Allen will be giving a live interview in his hometown as well, later this month at Town Hall Seattle. GeekWire’s Todd Bishop, who has covered Microsoft for years dating back to the days of the printed Seattle P-I, will do the questioning.

Curt Woodward is a senior editor for Xconomy based in Boston. Email: cwoodward@xconomy.com Follow @curtwoodward

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