Bill Gates has a resume of career highs, but he calls Microsoft’s failure to become Apple’s chief iOS rival his “greatest mistake.”
The Microsoft founder made the admission twice in recent interviews when discussing how Microsoft lost out 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,” Gates said in a recent interview with venture capital firm Village Global. “So the greatest mistake ever is whatever mismanagement I engaged in that caused Microsoft not to be what Android is. Android is the standard non-Apple phone platform. … There’s room for exactly one non-Apple operating system.”
For years, Microsoft (MSFT) was the leader in the computer industry, beating Apple, but failed to evolve fast enough in the smartphone era. Microsoft came out with its own mobile operating system, called Windows Mobile, in 2000. Apple debuted its iPhone in 2007, followed by Google’s Android platform in 2008. While Microsoft had a mobile operating system first, it quickly fell behind Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG).