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
RE: Windows 8 Phone is great
2/19/2013 9:48:45 AM
From what I used of Windows Phone 7.5 it's pretty great...has a LOT of ideas other companies could stand to copy.
Still, podcast support on iOS/syncing remains best by far on iOS, and there's no good way to back up/manage programs on anything but iOS :-/
I'm a *fan* of a lot of Windows Mobile's ideas...the problem to me was it was really buggy and super rough. Every time I tried a Windows Mobile device I'd have some different, horrible problem with it, and it was crazy that something as basic as closing a program pretty much required third party support to do (or 900 button presses lol)
I like a lot of Windows Phone, but I don't like that it's just as closed as iOS, only even worse because it doesn't sync with my PC very well (how ironic is that?) and you can't at least back up programs/manage 'em on your PC.
Not to mention there's no non-phone version.
"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller
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