Letting Google launch Android was my greatest mistake ever, says Bill Gates

Written by Faisal Saeed ·  1 min read >
Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates speaks at the "Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases" conference at the Royal College of Physicians in London

Bill Gates, the American business tycoon and co-founder of the largest software company Microsoft, in a recent interview at Village Global, a venture capital firm revealed that his biggest mistake ever was giving Google the opportunity to launch Android.

“In the software world, particularly for platforms, these are winner-take-all markets. So the greatest mistake ever is whatever mismanagement I engaged in that caused Microsoft not to be what Android is. That is, Android is the standard non-Apple phone platform. That was a natural thing for Microsoft to win. It really is winner take all. If you’re there with half as many apps or 90 percent as many apps, you’re on your way to complete doom. There’s room for exactly one non-Apple operating system and what’s that worth? $400 billion that would be transferred from company G to company M.”

The search giant acquired Android back in 2005 for $50 million, and Google’s former CEO Eric Schmidt admitted that the company’s initial goal was to beat Microsoft’s early Windows Mobile efforts. In 2012, during a legal fight with Oracle about Java Schmidt said, “At the time we were very concerned that Microsoft’s mobile strategy would be successful”.

But, ultimately Android killed windows smartphones and became one of the best mobile operating system in the world. Bill Gates submission about losing to Google is surprising to an extent as many thought that Microsoft’s missed mobile opportunity was a mistake happened during Steve Ballmer’s era. He also laughed 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.”

Bill Gates also said in the interview that Microsoft despite the error of losing Android is still very strong, but “had it not been for his mistake, it would be “the leading company” instead of “a leading company”.

Furthermore, the billionaire tech founder shared his life experiences and the sacrifices he made during his work life. He shared that when he first started out he did not believe in weekends or vacations. But later in life when he reached in his 30s, he relaxed his mind a bit and started loving the weekends.