Feeds

Bill Gates: Windows Phone strategy was 'a mistake'

'Not satisfied' that Microsoft isn't leading in phones

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates may be devoting more time to running his philanthropic foundation than to day-to-day operations in Redmond these days, but that doesn't mean he's satisfied with how things are going at the company he founded, particularly where mobility is concerned.

In an interview with CBS This Morning's Charlie Rose on Monday, Gates admitted he wasn't pleased with Microsoft's performance in the mobile market, going as far as to characterize the company's smartphone strategy as "a mistake."

"We didn't miss cell phones," Gates said. "But the way that we went about it didn't allow us to get the leadership, so it's clearly a mistake."

Mind you, to say that Microsoft isn't leading with Windows Phone is a bit of an understatement. According to recent research from comScore, Microsoft's share of the smartphone market actually shrunk during the three months ending December 2012, leaving it with a paltry 2.9 per cent.

That was less than half the share commanded by BlackBerry during the same period – a company to which pundits routinely feel compelled to attach such adjectives as "struggling," "embattled," "beleaguered," and so on.

In 2011, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer confidently told a meeting of financial analysts that he had high hopes that Windows Phone would soon become the third most popular smartphone platform. But given the market performance of Windows Phone 8 so far, even that comparatively meager milestone still looks out of reach.

Gates stopped short of pinning Windows Phone's poor sales on Microsoft's CEO, however, arguing that Microsoft has accomplished lots of important things under Ballmer's tenure, even if securing a dominant position in smartphones wasn't one of them.

"He and I are two of the most self-critical people you can imagine," Gates said. "There were a lot of amazing things that Steve's leadership got done with the company in the last year. Windows 8 is key to the future ... the Surface computer ... Bing, people have seen is a better search product ... the Xbox ... But is it enough? No. He and I are not satisfied that, in terms of breakthrough things, that we're doing everything possible." ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.