Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella admitted that the company has made some serious mobile mistakes. In an interview with Business Insider, Nadella said that Microsoft’s exit from the mobile phone business could have been handled better, and that the company could have made Windows Phone work by reinventing the category of computing between PCs, tablets, and phones.
Microsoft finally confirmed Windows Phone was dead a few years after the Nokia phone business write-off, but it was clear six months after that decision that Windows Phone was over. Microsoft has since launched its Android-powered Surface Duo and Surface Duo 2 handsets, but without a successor in sight and a lack of software updates, it’s not clear what the future holds for the Surface Duo.
Nadella is now the third Microsoft CEO to admit to the company’s mobile mistakes. Microsoft co-founder and former CEO Bill Gates said his “greatest mistake ever” was Microsoft losing to Android. Google acquired Android in 2005 for $50 million, and former CEO Eric Schmidt admitted in 2012 that Google’s initial focus was beating Microsoft’s early Windows Mobile efforts.
Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was also slow to respond to Android and the iPhone threat, focusing the company’s efforts on Windows Mobile while famously laughing at the iPhone, calling it the “most expensive phone in the world and it doesn’t appeal to business customers because it doesn’t have a keyboard.” Ballmer admitted in 2013 that he regretted not focusing on the phone much earlier.
Microsoft has been focused on apps for Android and iOS over the past decade, though. The company is constantly updating its Phone Link app to link Android and even iPhone handsets to Windows, and Microsoft has a close relationship with Samsung to ensure its mobile Office apps are preinstalled on Samsung’s Android handsets.
The sources for this piece include an article in TheVerge.