Contemplating on his time at the company, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates revealed to have made the biggest mistake by losing to Android. During a recent interview at venture capital firm Village Global, Gates described what he called the “greatest mistake ever” was Microsoft missing the Android opportunity. Android now rules the mobile market rivaling iOS.
“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,” he said.
He suggested that Microsoft being distracted by an antitrust lawsuit was a factor in Google having the chance to get into the mobile market.
Stemming from their Pocket PC back, Microsoft had launched their Windows mobile as it’s OS back in 2000. The reaction by the Redmond firm was quite slow and the arrival of iOS in 2007/2008 eventually buried the Windows Mobile in favor of the touch-focused Windows 7 in 2010.
Microsoft launched Windows Phone 8 back in 2012, as Windows Phone 7 handsets were incapable to be updated to the refreshed platform. This was pretty unfortunate for Lumia 900 users, who could not update their rather expensive handsets, to post Windows 8 launch.
Even though Windows spent some amount of time in the mobile world, it was unable to bring big apps like Snapchat to their platform. Youtube merely looked like a web wrapper on the windows phone platform. Eventually Google refused to bring popular apps to the platform, clearly stating its motive of taking Android to the top.
Google acquired Android back in 2005 for just $50 million, and former CEO Eric Schmidt admitted that Google’s initial focus was beating Microsoft’s early Windows Mobile efforts. Turns out Android was the best deal ever. “At the time we were very concerned that Microsoft’s mobile strategy would be successful,” said Schmidt during a 2012 legal fight with Oracle about Java. Android is now to mobile, what Windows has been to the desktop computing world.
Unfortunately Microsoft had to abandon the platform in 2017. Windows 10 Mobile will reach end-of-life status on December 10, 2019.