Bill Gates on His “Greatest Mistake Ever”: Letting Android Succeed

Bill Gates managed to turn Microsoft into a very successful company, but there is something he wishes he could have changed during his tenure. Speaking at an event hosted by venture firm Village Global, the CEO-turned-philanthropist admitted he should have worked harder to make Microsoft a leader in the mobile space.

You know, in the software world, in particular for platforms, these are winner-take-all markets. So, you know, the greatest mistake ever is the whatever mismanagement I engaged in that caused Microsoft not to be what Android is, [meaning] Android is the standard non-Apple phone form platform. That was a natural thing for Microsoft to win.

In Gates’ perfect world, Windows Mobile would have been the main alternative to iOS. Sadly, there were mistakes made that led to the loss of a multi-billion dollar opportunity.

It really is winner take all. If you’re there with half as many apps or 90% 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 [Google] to company M [Microsoft].

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