Bill Gates: Windows Phone failed because I was too distracted by an antitrust case

nanoguy

TS Addict
Staff member

Microsoft officially pulled the plug on its mobile operating system in 2017, when it made a quiet admission that there was no room in the market for a third option alongside iOS and Android. During an interview at The New York Times' Dealbook Conference, Bill Gates has expressed his thoughts on why Windows Phone failed. He explained that if he hadn't been busy fighting in a Microsoft antitrust case in the early 2000s, the company would have been in a better position to build the ultimate mobile operating system for phones.

Gates seems convinced that one of the biggest reasons Microsoft missed the mobile boat was the amount of antitrust scrutiny coming from the US Department of Justice, which also made him retire sooner than he would have liked. He seemed to hint at the current wave of regulatory probes and how they could act as a distraction for companies that are looking to build the next big thing.

He noted "I didn’t think Microsoft should be broken up, I argued against it, and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone." Then he explained that Microsoft missed an important opportunity to release an operating system for a Motorola phone, possibly referring to the Droid lineup that became very popular a decade ago.

Of course, the reality may be more complicated than that. The general consensus among ex-Microsoft employees and pundits seems to be that the company tried to replicate the traditional Windows licensing model that worked well for desktop PCs but was otherwise inadequate for mobile devices. Then it alienated app developers and hardware partners with platform reboots, eventually sealing the fate of Windows on phones.

Earlier this year, Gates said losing in mobile to Android was the biggest mistake he has made as an entrepreneur. However, he didn't seem that concerned about the loss of $400 billion worth of business. During the interview with New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin, he said "now nobody here has ever heard of Windows Mobile. But oh, well. That’s a few hundred billion here or there."

Microsoft has indeed weathered the mobile storm by focusing on cloud and productivity software, as well as building the Surface family of aspirational hardware.

The company surprised everyone this year when it announced Surface Duo, a dual-screen phone that's powered by Android. In a world that's dominated by Android and iOS, Microsoft has simply chosen to build its vision for mobile computing using Google's operating system, and it's going to be interesting to see how this effort will pan out.

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"He explained that if he hadn't been busy fighting in a Microsoft antitrust case in the early 2000s, the company would have been in a better position to build the ultimate mobile operating system for phones."

Well they already did build that. WinPhone. So as usual, Gates doesn't even know what his own company did. Just absurd, the nerve of this guy.
 

Irata

TS Booster
The Tile metaphor was just not accepted -- IMO, it still isn't
On desktop I totally agree but I much prefer Windows phone's live tiles to the kind of desktop look Android has. Imho the Win phone GUI is much cleaner and easier to use.
 

Boilerhog146

TS Evangelist
So all us windows mobile users were thrown under the wheels,so how much do you owe me ?Huh Bill? still using a windows phone.I refuse to give up my live tiles for ICONS .really windows 98ish , it was all the naysayers and those that just hate M$ for what ever reason, that made windows mobile a failure. refusal to adopt. so now you all have buggy androids or locked down ios devices .ENJOY.

@wiyosaya gates was allways gone to gates head as jobs went to jobs head ,Balmer went to Balmers head, as,etcetc. great capitalists every one but shite human beings.at least gates is trying ,to portray himself as a philanthropist ,helping out in needy countries.I'll give him that ,just that though. not really doing much for humanity,imo. I wonder where lisa siu is if not in her head right now?
 
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wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
@wiyosaya gates was allways gone to gates head as jobs went to jobs head ,Balmer went to Balmers head, as,etcetc. great capitalists every one but shite human beings.at least gates is trying ,to portray himself as a philanthropist ,helping out in needy countries.I'll give him that ,just that though. not really doing much for humanity,imo.
I certainly agree that in some cases, he totally misses the mark for his humanitarian efforts.
 

tomkaten

TS Maniac
Thank god they failed, I have enough Micro$$oft in my life already.

I just wish it didn't turn intro Google's domain.
 

Boilerhog146

TS Evangelist
Thank god they failed, I have enough Micro$$oft in my life already.

I just wish it didn't turn intro Google's domain.
its ok for you ,you don't want your devices to work seamlessly together ,I get that .but I like things to just work.having different os's on different devices ,just makes no sense,they will never get along,won't sync,allways tinkering to get things to work. Give me one os for all devices.when everybody dissed windows mobile .they open the door for the like of google,should all be ashamed of themselves .but enjoy. google knows everything about you and will be in your life forever as well.
 

comnut

TS Rookie
How is it a metaphor at all? LiveTiles absolutely dominate over paltry, cartoon icons. It's hilarious to see stock Android and iPhone users without them.
and yet android and iphone has beaten it to death... IF he had put a WINDOWS SEVEN style GUI on it, it would now be beating all the rest!!!

 
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comnut

TS Rookie
its ok for you ,you don't want your devices to work seamlessly together ,I get that .but I like things to just work.having different os's on different devices ,just makes no sense,they will never get along,won't sync,allways tinkering to get things to work. Give me one os for all devices.when everybody dissed windows mobile .they open the door for the like of google,should all be ashamed of themselves .but enjoy. google knows everything about you and will be in your life forever as well.
the problem is, you cannot make a 2 inch screen work the same way a 20 inch screen does!!!
 
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comnut

TS Rookie
Thank god they failed, I have enough Micro$$oft in my life already.

I just wish it didn't turn intro Google's domain.
a lot of other companies would be able, ***IF*** they made their software domain manageable like google does... a lot of internet browser provider will not do this... there was one that almost did... wimped out|!

you do know who makes Chrome browser???
 

treetops

TS Evangelist
Despite having bing and IE installed on every PC by default.... Google still won in both regards. Even if they just copied and then stifled FF. Wasn't it nice when one of the richest company in the worlds logo was "Do no evil".
 

Yfree

TS Rookie
Wow, my comment disappeared. I’ll try again:
Windows Phone failed because nobody wants Windows on their phone - it’s bad enough we have to use it at work. People like Android, IOS, Mac OS, etc. Nobody and I mean nobody likes Windows.
 
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redscarfgal

TS Rookie
Early Microsoft succeed because of the room in the market, it was like monopoly when they introduced OS and other Office Products. But in the mobile market there are more stronger and innovative manufacturers already took the place.
So, MS would not deserver the profit they did in early 90's in other 'virgin market sphere'.

cheers!
 

Ravalo

TS Booster
its ok for you ,you don't want your devices to work seamlessly together ,I get that .but I like things to just work.having different os's on different devices ,just makes no sense,they will never get along,won't sync,allways tinkering to get things to work. Give me one os for all devices.when everybody dissed windows mobile .they open the door for the like of google,should all be ashamed of themselves .but enjoy. google knows everything about you and will be in your life forever as well.
Actually, Android is based on linux (an OS you can install easily), so linux users could make an open source syncing program for android and linux

And you can also sync MacOS with IOS so...