5 Iconic Partnerships That Ended in Bitter Rivalry

Why can’t borderline megalomaniacs just get along?
5 Iconic Partnerships That Ended in Bitter Rivalry

Two supremely talented and motivated people working together can go far. It seems pretty common, though, that the exact type of person built for huge success is also built for being, on occasion at least, a massive prick — something that’s reared its head many times in different high-profile partnerships. It turns out that Type-A personalities sometimes don’t cotton so well to becoming Option B. When you dial up that friction to an absolute buzzsaw with national pressure, whether it be artistic or capitalistic, those friendships and alliances often end up sliced not-so-neatly in half.

To that end, here are five partnerships that eventually turned into bitter rivalries…

Mark Zuckerberg & Eduardo Saverin

JD Lasica

I bet you wanted to see this guys face more!

When a partnership blows up in such a spectacular way that you can get David Fincher to make a movie out of it, one that’ll go on to win a couple of Oscars, no less, you know things got a little sour. This is also probably one of the most well-known doomed partnerships thanks to that film, The Social Network. Of course, not-so-shockingly, Hollywood punched a few things up. The methods and the final knife twist that Zuckerberg used to cut Saverin out of the company he had co-founded were undeniably devious, but the reasons behind it are as old as time. 

Saverin’s initial involvement in the company was basically as a money man and, very literally, a suit to Zuckerberg’s product-focused creativity. Once things got more serious, Saverin repeatedly proved to be the hold-up, showing that the work ethic and business savvy that came along with his bank account in college weren’t what you’d hope for. Zuckerberg says that Saverin was supposed to do three simple things: set up the company, get funding and build a business model. After a certain point, Zuckerberg hadn’t received any of those three simple things, counted each one as a strike, and with that, Saverin was out. Even the way Saverin was removed — by getting him to sign on to a new business model and then issuing new shares to dilute his ownership — might have been nipped in the bud if Saverin had had a sharper eye.

Not that Saverin is that pitiable a figure, living in Singapore with the type of nest egg that would make most dragons drool.

Bill Murray & Harold Ramis

Columbia Pictures


Even joy-based businesses can end with a bloodbath, like the demolition of Bill Murray and Harold Ramis’ relationship demonstrates. The magic the two produced together holds up to this day, and you probably have an easy mental picture of the two in your head, completee with Murray’s Peter Venkman and Ramis’ Egon Spengler in Ghostbusting gear. Overall, the pair’s track record is about as impressive as you can ask for.

Groundhog Day is also a classic — and would be the last time the duo would ever work together. The blame here seems to lie with Murray and his attitude on set. In the span of one movie, it seems that they went from two friends riffing out an iconic comedy to begrudging partners butting heads on just about every possible decision that had to be made. Groundhog Day, thankfully for all our sakes, made it out unscathed, but the experience was so unpleasant that they both, with a little more weight on Murray’s side of the scale, decided it would never be repeated. The bad blood would last up until the very end, with it only being somewhat squashed on Ramis’ deathbed.

Bill Gates & Steve Jobs

Joi Ito

Two men that could buy your house and the state it sits in.

Attitudes on Steve Jobs in general have become a little more tempered, once everyone got a peek behind the sleek glass phones he was handing out. So it’s a little less surprising now that Jobs, of Macintosh/Apple, and Bill Gates, of Microsoft, two computing titans, had a less-than-friendly relationship. In the very early days, though, they very nearly worked together. Jobs wanted Gates’ brilliant tech mind to help develop Macintosh, in fact, but meetings went sour. Gates was underwhelmed by Macintosh, and, surprise surprise, thought Jobs was arrogant.

Things really headed for the recycle bin when Jobs saw Windows, and accused Gates of stealing Macintosh’s ideas for a graphical user interface, or GUI. Gates found the whole thing a little hollow, since Xerox had already released a system running a GUI called the Xerox Alto. Gates even issued a particularly cutting quote, saying, “I think it’s more like we both had this rich neighbor named Xerox, and I broke into his house to steal the TV set and found out that you had already stolen it.” Jobs’ bullheadedness wasn’t swayed, and the two became bitter rivals both personally and professionally. They eventually buried the hatchet personally, but the Mac versus PC war remains a slugfest.

Tom Brady & Bill Belichick

Andrew Campbell

If Jesus Christ and Tom Brady walked into a Dunkin Donuts together, theyd bow to Brady.

If any jocks reading this almost tapped out on all that computer talk, here’s one for you, and one that probably hurts for a lot of people on the Eastern seaboard: Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. Even for someone completely disinterested in sports, for years you knew that if there was a Super Bowl, the Patriots were probably in it. The partnership between the famously late-drafted QB and grumpy head coach was, and is, a veritable chapter in sports history, and they’ve probably had both of their busts ready in cold storage at the Hall of Fame for years now.

But in the last couple of years, cracks started to appear, though at first taken with the grain of salt required of any Boston sports news. It was a whole bunch of nothing, until it wasn’t, and suddenly, we were all looking at Tom Brady in a Tampa Bay Buccaneers uniform like it was some kind of graphical glitch. The question for Pats fans forever had been: Who’s more important, Tom or Bill? The early returns would seem to indicate Brady — resoundingly so.

Liam & Noel Gallagher

Will Fresch

At least we know they hate people playing their songs as much as we do.

In case two insanely confident, creative minds weren’t enough to season a delicious, lifelong beef stew, why not throw sibling rivalry into the mix? That’s the case with the endless, and constantly entertaining, rivalry between brothers and past Oasis bandmates Noel and Liam Gallagher. Oasis was a massive success, as evidenced by the physical impossibility of going more than a week in the modern world without hearing “Wonderwall.” Your only hope is that it’s the original recording and not some dickhead at a bonfire.

The chain of events that led to the breakup doesn’t sound too far off from a classic sibling dustup either. Plenty of badmouthing, tantrums and physical fights until Oasis was no more. I can’t explain it any more succinctly than Liam did in SPIN: “Oasis was done. Even a blind man could see it. It was: new record, do the videos, big tour, have a fight. I’m glad that routine has come to an end.”

We may not get the joy of new Oasis music, but we do get the joy of tidbits like Noel calling Liam a “fat man in an anorak.”

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