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Bill Gates’ Biggest Mistake of His Career

Bill Gates has a resume of many career highs, but the Microsoft founder calls it a failure to become Apple’s chief iOS rival his “biggest mistake”, according to CNN Business, San Francisco.

The founder admitted twice in recent interviews when discussing how Microsoft lost to Google in launching a mobile operating system to rival Apple’s iOS.

“In the software world—particularly for platforms—these are winner-take-all markets. So, you know, 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, and you know 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? Four hundred billion?

That would be transferred from Company G to Company M. And it’s amazing to me having made one of the greatest mistakes of all time—and there were this antitrust lawsuit and various things—our other assets—Windows, Office—are still very strong. So, we are a leading company. If we’d got that one right, we would be the leading company. But oh well.” said the Gates in a recent interview to VC firm Village Global.

For years, Microsoft has been the leader in the computer industry, beating Apple, but it could not evolve faster in the smartphone era. Though it was MSFT (Microsoft) to launch the first mobile operating system, it quickly fell behind AAPL (Apple) and GOOG (Google). In 2000, Microsoft came out with its own mobile operating system. Apple’s iPhone debuted in 2007, followed by Google’s Android platform in 2008.

According to the reports, Gates knew that mobile OS would be very popular and so they started doing which was called Windows Mobile. He believes that they missed being the dominant mobile OS by a tiny amount.  “We were distracted during our antitrust trial. We didn’t assign the best people to do the work. So, it’s the biggest mistake I made in terms of something that was clearly within our skill set. We were clearly the company that should have achieved that — and we didn’t.” said the founder at an event.

The company has many more missteps, which includes Windows Vista, one of the most disliked versions of Windows, and Windows ME, which was highly criticized for being buggy. Gates, who uses an Android phone, retired from day-to-day work at Microsoft in June 2008 and stepped down as a chairman of the board of Microsoft in Feb 2014.

img: arstechnica
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James J

James has been writing about tech since 2009 after spending 25 years in a computer research lab studying and improving the future of computers. He watches Netflix sci-fi with his pet, enjoying spicy snacks.
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