Bill Gates Could Take Hands-On Role in Microsoft's Product Development
February 3, 2014 4:41 PM
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He could play an active part in turning Microsoft's devices and services around as well as creating new products
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has been more of a behind-the-scenes kind of guy when it comes to the company's plans and day-to-day routine, instead focusing on other endeavors like his philanthropy. But Gates could be taking a more active role soon, specifically in product development.
, Gates may take on a product development position that shapes Microsoft's future devices and services. This could be a great move, considering Gates was the one who originally threw around ideas for smartphones and tablet PCs at Microsoft before Apple launched its respective products -- meaning he could bring some great ideas to the table and try to push ahead of competitors.
Microsoft has been struggling in the smartphone and tablet space while competitors like Apple and Google/Samsung dominate mobile. According to
, Android's global market share surpassed the 80 percent mark as of November 2013 while Apple's iOS was at 12.9 percent and Microsoft's Windows Phone had just 3.6 percent.
While Nokia is the major OEM for Windows Phone and manages to create impressive hardware for the platform at a good price, the Finnish company has said in the past that Microsoft needs to keep up its end of the deal by offering more attractive apps to lure customers in. But it said Microsoft was lagging in that area.
A young Bill Gates. He may return to the days of getting his hands dirty in product development.
Microsoft's first homemade tablet, called Surface, was also largely a flop at launch. The version which supports Windows RT was seen as a half-baked Windows product that didn't run legacy apps, and the Windows 8 Pro version was much too expensive for the typical consumer.
Windows 8 has had a lot of criticism as well, with users begging for the Start button's return and arguing that Windows 8 should strictly be a mobile OS, not a desktop OS. But many suspect that newer OS updates (such as the recently released Windows 8.1) will continue making some necessary changes.
With so many troubles on its plate, it's no wonder Microsoft is bringing in the big dog to have a say in what its future devices and services will look like.
The next big trend in mobile looks to be
, and Samsung already got a headstart with its $299 Galaxy Gear. Apple is reportedly close to launching its own version, so Microsoft better make sure it doesn't miss the boat again (although Microsoft technically was one of the first to launch a smart watch back in the early 2000s with its SPOT watches, but they never seemed to catch on).
Microsoft is expected to announce its new CEO in the coming days,
which will reportedly be Satya Nadella
, Microsoft's current executive vice president of the Cloud and Enterprise group. Nadella will replace current
CEO Steve Ballmer
, who replaced Gates back in January 2000.
Gates, on the other hand, is expected to be replaced as Microsoft's chairman by board member John Thompson.
In the midst of all this rearranging, Microsoft is also going through
a restructuring process
of its core businesses, where the Windows Phone, PC and Xbox units will be more unified.
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RE: Just a slight correction
2/4/2014 10:06:25 AM
Uhh, my Sony is a lot further ahead than you imply.
People seem oblivious to smartwatches prior to today's current set and seem to think that they are new. It's laughable, really.
Sony Ericsson Live View is from 2011 (2010?). My Sony Ericsson MBW-150 Music Edition is from 2007. The SE MBW-100 is from even before that (2005/2006). Microsoft showed some dot-matrix LCD "smart watch" around 2000 that synced with your PDA/PC and actually sold a different kind of offline "Smart Watch" with Timex in the '90's (synced with flashed on your PC monitor).
Wearables aren't new. Since the advent of Bluetooth and ubiquitous cellphones I have been demanding one and been frustrated with the snails pace. Even today now that "wearables" are hot, I'm even more frustrated that NO ONE is doing it right. I'm still looking for the perfect one and it seems like the closest has already come and gone (MBW-150 watches have bad batteries and displays these days).
"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007
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