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The biggest mistake made by Bill Gates at Microsoft: Letting Android win your mobile

Jordan Novet, CNBC

Published 5:48 p.m. ET June 24, 2019

Highlights Stories

  • Microsoft's former Chief Executive Bill Gates said that his biggest mistake was that Microsoft was behind the largest non-Apple phone operating system.
  • In 2017, Microsoft's executive showed that it would no longer actively develop its Windows Mobile Mobile operating system.
  • That year, Android was the clear leader in terms of smart phone shipments, with a share of almost 86%, according to Gartner.

Microsoft Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, says that the biggest mistake the company had made was Google's biggest mistake.

Core part of Microsoft is a Windows desktop operating system through a large part of its 44-year history, but Microsoft failed to achieve leadership position in mobile operating systems. It's behind Google Alphabet, and Apple.

At today's Microsoft, Windows is still an income contributor and profit, but Microsoft is focusing more on cloud infrastructure and applications, basically taking business of mobile platforms in place.

Gates made the comments to David Rubinstein on Monday, speaking at Washington Economic Club lunch: t

“We are engaged in operating systems for PCs. We knew that the mobile phone would be very popular, so we were doing Windows Mobile. We lost being the dominant mobile operating system at a very small amount. We were bothering us during our anti-thrust trial. We did not assign the best people to do the work. So, the biggest mistake I made in terms of something was clearly within our skill set. It was clear the company we should have reached, and did not. We approved this Motorola design to win, and thus the software momentum to go to Android, so it was the largest non-Apple mobile phone operating system in the world. ”

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At the time of mobile computing, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, was not Gates. But Gates was still in a number of initiatives by Microsoft, which had the title of the Chief Software Engineer from 2001 to 2008 and as Chairman of the Board until 2014.

The resistance situation probably exacerbated my retirement at five or six years, which was probably a good thing for me, ”said Gates.

He said he had bragged him in the early years of Microsoft that he did not have an office in Washington D.C., and he has since regretted it.

Gates's comments come by claiming the resistance case from the US Department of Justice also after reports about how federal regulators could change their approach to view major technology companies, including Google.

Earlier in the year, Sen. Elizabeth Warren mentioned the Microsoft case as part of an argument that the government should try to break up large technology companies.

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