In a recent interview with Village Global, a venture capital firm Bill Gates confessed his ‘greatest mistake ever was’ missing out on the mobile platform and thus giving Android an advantage.
“In the software world, particularly for platforms, these are winner-take-all markets. So, the greatest mistake ever is whatever mismanagement I engaged in that caused Microsoft not to be what Android is. That is, Android is the standard non-Apple phone platform. That was a natural thing for Microsoft to win. It really is winner take all. If you’re there with half as many apps or 90 percent as many apps, you’re on your way to complete doom. There’s room for exactly one non-Apple operating system and what’s that worth? $400 billion that would be transferred from company G to company M.”
Former CEO of Google acknowledged that ‘beating Microsoft’s early mobile efforts’ was the main reason behind acquiring Android back in 2005 for $50 million. “At the time we were very concerned that Microsoft’s mobile strategy would be successful,” said Schmidt in 2012 during a legal fight with Oracle about Java
Gate’s confession comes as a little bit of surprise in the digital world as manly blame Steve Ballmer for Window’s failure as a mobile platform. Ballmer failed to understand the importance of ‘touch era’. He even joked “most expensive phone in the world and it doesn’t appeal to business customers because it doesn’t have a keyboard.” After months of internal arguments, Microsoft finally decided to scrap its Windows-powered mobile efforts which were based on stylus and keyboard powered devices and to start from scratch with a Windows mobile.
Despite Gates acknowledgment Gates might not be directly responsible for Window’s failure to take advantage of the mobile era, but it was true that his departure came right in the years when Microsoft was trying to build a stable mobile strategy.