Bill Gates Describes Microsoft's Early Smartphone Efforts as "Clearly a Mistake"
February 18, 2013 3:10 PM
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The Windows Mobile era took a heavy toll on Microsoft's mobile efforts
In a new candid interview with CBS Corp.'s (
) titular station, Microsoft Corp. (
) co-founder and
Bill Gates discusses his
struggles in the mobile era
. Microsoft today accounts for less than 5 percent of the smartphone market, according to most estimates.
For a time, Microsoft
held nearly a quarter
of the fledgling smartphone market (circa 2004). But it failed to keep up with rivals like Google Inc. (
) and Apple, Inc. (
), sticking for years with the increasingly dated Windows Mobile platform. In November 2010, Microsoft launched
a new operating system
, Windows Phone, which was ambitious but lacked strong third-party hardware support. Today Microsoft is still struggling to sell the market on its latest mobile OS --
Windows Phone 8
Bill Gates in the interview calls Microsoft's former cellphone strategy "clearly a mistake", remarking, "There's a lot of things like cellphones where we didn't get out in the lead early. We didn't miss cellphones, but the way that we went about it didn't allow us to get the leadership."
The tech icon says that both he and current CEO (
and close friend
) Steve Ballmer are both incredibly "self-critical". He comments, "He [Ballmer] and I are not satisfied that in terms of breakthrough things that we're doing everything possible."
Steve Ballmer's company has struggled in the mobile era, since Mr. Gates' retirement.
[Image Source: SFGate]
Mr. Gates expressed confidence, though, that it's not too late for Microsoft to claw its way to a significant mobile market share. He's
a big fan of Windows 8 and Microsoft's Surface tablet
Microsoft is reportedly aiming to
unify the Windows and Windows Phone platforms
under one consistent set of mostly overlapping APIs and user interface themes, to allow users to feel more comfortable with both form factors, and to help developers save time deploying cross-platform apps. The first unified release, Windows Blue, may land late this summer.
The revisions are also accompanied with some big leadership change. Windows President Steven Sinofsky was
new rising stars are taking his place
at the company. Some investors have
called on CEO Ballmer to step down
, but for now Mr. Ballmer is
in the top spot,
vocal as ever
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
2/18/2013 4:05:56 PM
A great featurephone destroyed by Verizon's greed?
2/18/2013 4:27:32 PM
Id vote you up on that. The reviews for the device were good the Verizon plan you had to take didn't make sense.
2/18/2013 5:25:30 PM
Great features or not, wikipedia lists availability of the kin as may 2010 while the iphone was released in 2007.
Meaning when the iphone craze was in full swing, microsoft decided to launch a phone in the blackberry style, or the style of the craze 3-4 years ago at that point, with a full qwerty keyboard. While the iphone 1 already had a screen that doubled as a keyboard, which ment the screen was much larger when you didn't need that keyboard.
I'm sorry but while the phone might have had great features, the greatest feature of all that all succesfull smartphones have had since the iphone was missing, 3 years after that feature was revealed.
If it was simply the carrier's greed that made it fail, *all* smartphones would fail. All smartphones cost 40%-50% more when you buy them with a subscription instead of pre-paid, yet almost everybody prefers to buy the subscription over waiting or just not buying a smartphone.
"Game reviewers fought each other to write the most glowing coverage possible for the powerhouse Sony, MS systems. Reviewers flipped coins to see who would review the Nintendo Wii. The losers got stuck with the job." -- Andy Marken
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