Microsoft chairman Bill Gates has admitted in an interview that the company's mobile strategy in the early days was “clearly a mistake”, and one it has been paying for ever since.
However, he also delivered a surprisingly cautious outlook for the future, saying that neither he nor CEO Steve Ballmer were 100% happy with the job Microsoft is doing in terms of “breakthrough” devices and technologies.
Gates told CBS that he was well aware of the criticism that Microsoft's mobile strategy has attracted – “we appreciate the advice,” he returned – but conceded that Microsoft had been left on the back foot because it failed to embrace the rise of mobile in the right way when it had the chance.
“There's a lot of things like cellphones where we didn't get out in the lead early,” Gates said.
“We didn't miss cellphones, but the way that we went about it didn't allow us to get the leadership.” That strategy was “clearly a mistake”, he added.
So has Steve Ballmer's leadership and the decisions Microsoft has taken since those early days helped close the gap? Here's what Gates had to say:
“[Steve] and and I are two of the most self-critical people you can imagine.
“There are 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 are seeing is a better search product
“But is it enough? No, he and I are not satisfied in terms of breakthrough things that we're doing everything possible.”
That's far from a ringing endorsement, it must be said – and not much of an optimistic outlook on the future, either. On the other hand, it's clear things haven't gone 100% to plan for Microsoft over the past few years, so what's wrong with admitting as much? It doesn't fix things for the future, but at least it's being honest.
Via The Guardian