Bill Gates Says Microsoft Losing to Android in the Smartphone OS Market Share Was His ‘Greatest Mistake Ever’
Microsoft turned into one of the biggest tech giants over the course of several years, but its co-founder Bill Gates thinks that it could have done even better. In a recent interview with the venture capital firm Village Global, Gates said that Microsoft’s greatest mistake was missing the opportunity to build the largest mobile platform. Instead, it’s Google’s mobile OS that’s turned into a juggernaut.
Microsoft Missed out on $400 Billion by Letting Android Grow Into the Dominating Force It Is Today
Shouldering the blame, Gates admitted that it was his mismanagement that caused Microsoft to miss the boat. The business magnate considers the software industry to be a ‘winner-take-all market’ and said that ideally, Microsoft should have been the architect of a standard non-Apple phone platform. He believes this could have helped the company rake in $400 billion, which is what he thinks Android is worth.
Back when Android was non-existent, Windows Mobile was the ‘go to’ platform for smartphones. However, instead of taking a cue from Apple, and adapting its operating system according to touch screen phones, the Redmond-based company’s executives actually made fun of iPhones for not having a physical keyboard. Meanwhile, the mobile OS team at Google, which was spearheaded by Andy Rubin, developed Android into a platform for touch screen handsets.
Google bought Android in 2005 for $50 million and the company wanted to compete with Windows Mobile directly. Eventually, Android was able to snatch Windows Phone share, prompting Microsoft to kill it off eventually. The fact that developers didn’t support Windows Phone didn’t help either.
As Bill Gates points out, the company’s Windows OS and Office suite of apps are still doing well, and its cloud business is also growing but had it developed a successful iOS alternative, it could have been a leading company. As for Android, within 10 years of its release, the mobile platform has gone on to achieve more than two billion users monthly, which is twice the number of Windows 10 users.
From the looks of it, Windows Phone isn’t poised to make a comeback, as Microsoft doesn’t seem interested in the platform. However, the company might be pushing forward with mobile computing in the form of its rumored foldable Surface device, which could launch next year. Perhaps sticking to and improving its hardware division under the Surface brand might be the best possible gamble the software giant has taken, so let us wait and see what next year holds for this industry.