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Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, finds his biggest mistake that Microsoft has not become what Android is on the smartphone market. That’s what Gates said in a conversation with Village Global, writes Ars Technica. “If we’d done that right, we’d be the leading company.”

Gates points out in the conversation that the markets in the software world are often led by one or two parties. “So the biggest mistake is the mismanagement I took part in, which made sure that Microsoft isn’t what Android is. Android is the standard non-Apple phone platform. That was a natural thing for Microsoft to win,” said the Microsoft leader. “If you’re present with half of the apps or 90 percent of the apps, you’re on your way to complete failure. There is room for one non-Apple operating system.”

In the interview, Gates also takes full responsibility for the fact that Microsoft hardly reacted to the rise of the smartphone. By that time he was already busy with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Microsoft’s transition plan to work in that organization had already been announced by Gates in June 2006, a year before the iPhone was released and two years before the first Android phone was launched.

Steve Ballmer was the CEO of Microsoft at the time. He’s also the one who laughed at the iPhone and called the $500 device “the most expensive phone in the world”. He also pointed out the lack of a hardware keyboard. “There is no chance that the iPhone will get a significant market share,” Ballmer once said versus USA Today. In the end, however, Apple managed to sell 2 billion iPhones.

Android at the top

The launch of the iPhone was a major turning point in the phone market. The reactions of companies to this development have therefore determined much of their future. For example, Google took the iPhone seriously and already invested it in the mobile market before the announcement of the iPhone. In 2005 it took over Android. However, after the launch of the iPhone, the team decided to discontinue its Blackberry-like operating system, which it was working on, and start over. The result was Android 1.0.

Microsoft has tried to compete with the iPhone and Android. The Windows Phone only launched in 2010, and then Google was already too powerful with its Android. There were already six versions of Android and a suite of apps like Gmail, Search, YouTube and Maps. However, Microsoft could not compete with these apps.

Android now has 85 percent of the smartphone operating system market, and is the most popular operating system – for any device – in the world. Windows is number two.

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.