Gates: Microsoft's smartphone strategy was a "mistake"

Gates: Microsoft's smartphone strategy was a
Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates made an appearance this morning on CBS' This Morning and found himself being interviewed by Charlie Rose. While Gates expressed some frustration with the way some things are being run in Redmond, he still believes that Steve Ballmer remains the right man to lead the company. Citing all the things that Ballmer led the company through last year, Gates called Windows 8, the key to Microsoft's future. He also mentioned the Microsoft Surface tablet and Bing as a couple of highlights for the company in 2012. But the company's chairman is not happy with the pace of innovation at Microsoft.

Now 57, and no longer the baby-faced  young man whose software changed the world, Gates admitted that the way Microsoft entered the cellphone business did not allow the company to take a leadership role. According to the executive, this means that Microsoft's strategy was "clearly a mistake." This is a rather large difference than the way that BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins sees the also-rans battling for market share. While Heins seems content to battle it out with Microsoft for third place behind iOS and Android, Gates is not pleased at all that Windows Phone is looking up at Apple and Google.


source: CBS via BGR

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72 Comments

1. rusticguy

Posts: 2828; Member since: Aug 11, 2012

Ask ELOP and he will definitely not agree at NOKIA :D

2. AnTuTu

Posts: 1602; Member since: Oct 14, 2012

I believe what Gates has said is right.

5. _Bone_

Posts: 2155; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

The numbers show (or rather the lack of) that Gates was right. He's not saying it was bad to enter the cellphone business, but when and how was a mistake, probably referring to the lack of fluidity, app support and mass appeal compared to iOS and Android. He's hardly criticizing the CURRENT crop of Windows phones because W8 got it right, but it's a long road ahead to catch-up on the rivals.

13. rusticguy

Posts: 2828; Member since: Aug 11, 2012

If they have the cash to fund 24 billion deal for Dell why couldn't hey have spent some 5 billion on APPS? Money talks but they thought WINDOWS Talks and failed in that process ... now trying to find excuses :) WP did not fail ... it's brand WINDOWS that failed and that's what hurting everyone's ego at TOP. They failed to realise that generation that grew up playing Solitaire on WINDOWS is reaching retirment age :)

33. cretinick

Posts: 148; Member since: Jan 25, 2011

"lack of fluidity"???

3. MrJerry

Posts: 403; Member since: Oct 05, 2012

Gates: Microsoft's smartphone strategy was a "mistake" Mistake = Nokia

15. papss unregistered

Mr Jerry = troll

19. MrJerry

Posts: 403; Member since: Oct 05, 2012

Don't stalk me babe

48. Johnnokia

Posts: 1158; Member since: May 27, 2012

Windows phone is having the sight of success because of Nokia and its great reputation

56. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

"Gates admitted that the way Microsoft ENTERED the cellphone business did not allow the company to take a leadership role. According to the executive, this means that Microsoft's strategy was 'clearly a mistake.'" Read the first capped word...you'll get it. I think what Gates says is not related with WP8 or WP7...or the OS. He's talking about how the company launched themself into the smartphone business. Nothing to do with Nokia...

61. jsdechavez

Posts: 793; Member since: Jul 20, 2012

you know how some people get really shallow here...

69. MrJerry

Posts: 403; Member since: Oct 05, 2012

We are only guessing He couldnt just say "Nokia is failure" could he?

65. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

You know some ppl actually do consider WP as them entering the cellphone business...lol. Trying to rationalize the long road ahead for WP n all. But...when they came in the cellphone business....them, BB, Palm were the top dogs. With BB and Win Mo being 1 and 2 at one point. I think Win Mo made it to #1 at one point. I dont think they way they came is was the problem....what they did after getting in was the bigger problem. They waited too late to do things. Saw what was going on around them with other companies....and reacted too late.

70. MrJerry

Posts: 403; Member since: Oct 05, 2012

Nothing to do with Nokia??? Are you serious? yoy basicaly think he meant it is all MS's fault and Nokia is just great??? And you have 5 thumbs up You guys are sick do u know that? lol

71. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

So you're bothered about my 5 thumbs upwards and you're not about your 19 and 14 down?

64. shikroi

Posts: 187; Member since: Sep 24, 2012

You mean the only mistake they didn't make was choosing nokia. With nokia controlling the lions share of wp and being the primary mover of wp, whithout them I doubt wp would even have even 1 percent market share. If there is any mistake here its nokia going only with wp and microsoft continuously failing to be ahead of the curve in os tech. I mean how could the not see the 1080p and 4k push and include support for it? Why is their no file system in wp? I still can't port a pdf to my wp and read it unless I download it directly on the phone and some files are to big to download on a phone. Why is microsoft lagging behind in support for their own platform by not aggressively pushing xbox games? Why is it that I still cant choose the exact colors I want my tiles and background in because ms still feels they should dictate the colors I use? Wouldn't and rgb color slider have sufficed? Where is my notification center? Wp8, rt, and pro are supposed to be connected and similar, yet I still don't feel that. In fact if wp8 was anything like rt minus the desktop, recovery partition, other desktop stuff etc; it would be a whole lot better and its not like that is impossible to achieve. Microsoft even missed the flash support boat for their phones. Though html5 is supposed to be the future, in the present all the sites I visit on my 920 have content I cant view because their is no flash support. I cant even watch anime without using an app.

4. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

He is talking about Windows MOBILE more than Phone, read the full interview

17. MrJerry

Posts: 403; Member since: Oct 05, 2012

He is talking about "Smartphone Strategy" He mentioned; "We didn’t miss cell phones, but the way that we went about it didn’t allow us to get the leadership" So the strategy to pick Nokia as main device for their OS is the "Mistake"

41. Izoe

Posts: 149; Member since: Sep 02, 2010

Doesn't necessarily mean choosing Nokia was a mistake, might be referring to the fact that it took so long for them to revamp the windows mobile platform. I mean it was practically dead (in a far worse position than blackberry) before they finally came up with the windows phone 7 operating system. If they had done it two years earlier, WP would have been a much stronger contender than it is now. We are seeing the same thing with apple at the moment. they are too content/comfortable with the way the ios is even though it is now quite stale. This is because they currently have a large market share. However this can change anytime (the demand for their products) if they fail to evolve ios to match the increasing demands and needs of users. Complacency has been the downfall of many top businesses, just ask Nokia and Blackberry.

44. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

"Doesn't necessarily mean choosing Nokia was a mistake, might be referring to the fact that it took so long for them to revamp the windows mobile platform." Bingo.

21. 14545

Posts: 1835; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

WinMo>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>WinPhone By a long margin. They should have freshened WinMo instead of going in a completely different direction and alienating those of us that are/were windows mobile users. I would consider going to back to a new version of WinMo, but WinPhone is ugly, terrible, and basically useless compared to iOS and Android.

42. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

It would have required a revamp from the ground up, which is essentially what WP7.5 was (both based off Windows CE) and 8 even more so, and it was a horrid UI for the time (I tried using an acquaintance's Samsung Blackjack to see how it compared a few weeks ago) and utterly pathetic now. Technically WP is more capable than ios, looks and moves better, and actually has a future over the next few years.

57. darac

Posts: 2156; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

Have to agree here. Windows mobile was far and away better than Android was, in the moment they dropped it.

60. darac

Posts: 2156; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

Just check out HTC HD 2 in depth reviews. The thing is, geniuses at Microsoft were in awe by the iPhone' success and they rightfully concluded it's because of the relative simplicity, smoothnes, and ease of use compared to WM and Android. But that was extremely partial understanding of the phenomenon. So they went to extreme there, starting completely from scratch and killing off the ecosystem and market share that was already there. They also killed off every feature they could think off, resulting in a completely impotent OS that had the abilities of iOS, but no apps. In the meantime, Android was improving at a rapid pace and, fueled by its open nature, started to spread like a wildfire..and that process is still underway

68. Aeires unregistered

And lumped the PC side into that same move, thereby making W8 a terrible UI compared to the previous versions. While I understand cross platform uniformity, I'm not interested in upgrading to W8 at all. On a phone it's not my cup of tea but it works well enough, just don't want that on my computer desktop.

6. XPERIA-KNIGHT unregistered

Gates is the man....the "right" man, for microsoft

7. nikenturd unregistered

I think Nokia made the worse mistake here than Microsoft lol

14. rusticguy

Posts: 2828; Member since: Aug 11, 2012

Dell to follow and is in QUEUE

34. babyk

Posts: 379; Member since: Nov 03, 2011

LOL very true

10. nikenturd unregistered

Ballmer is your typical fat rich balding dude who's not into tech and gadgetry, ..he's just a plain old businessman

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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