We all know the sad story of how Microsoft tried so hard to get a hold of the smartphone market and failed miserably. Microsoft Windows Mobile’s reach was so bad that they had to completely back out of the entire smartphone space.
While talking to the venture capital company Village Global, Bill Gates admitted that he regrets that “Microsoft did not beat Google to create the standard non-Apple phone platform”.
To quote Bill:
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.
Microsoft has been in the smartphone game for a long time. It would be a surprise for many when they come to know that Microsoft Windows Mobile also started during the same time Apple iOS and Google Android were getting started. Microsoft’s then CEO, Steve Ballmer, even laughed at the Apple iPhone for its lack of a physical keyboard and called it a very expensive device with a full touchscreen which business users would not be interested in.
Ironically, we all know how that story panned out, don’t we?
If you are interested, you can watch his full conversation here:
What do you think about the journey of Microsoft in the smartphone space?