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Bill Gates thinks Windows Mobile would have beaten Android without Microsoft’s antitrust woes

cDNA

Member
Oct 25, 2017
312
Bill Gates thinks Windows Mobile would have beaten Android without Microsoft’s antitrust woes

Bill Gates has revealed that he thinks everyone would be using Windows Mobile right now if Microsoft hadn’t have been caught up in a US Justice Department antitrust investigation. Speaking at The New York TimesDealBook Conference earlier today, Gates revealed his thoughts on Microsoft’s mobile mistakes.
“There’s no doubt that the antitrust lawsuit was bad for Microsoft, and we would have been more focused on creating the phone operating system and so instead of using Android today you would be using Windows Mobile,” claimed Gates. “If it hadn’t been for the antitrust case... we were so close, I was just too distracted. I screwed that up because of the distraction.”
It would be interesting what would have happened if Windows Phone was launched earlier, before Android were on the path win the market. I think the Iphone market share would be much bigger than it is now worldwide.
 
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cDNA

cDNA

Member
Oct 25, 2017
312
I think is very difficult fir the market to accept more than two competitors, so Android woul have become another failed Google project.
 

Kthulhu

Member
Oct 25, 2017
10,384
Probably.

People forget that the FTC was holding a gun to MS's head for the better part of a decade so I could see them killing Android provided they hadn't been forced to pump the breaks over the course of the 2000s.

MS would've had an ecosystem that makes Apple's current ecosystem look like a joke.
 

Shiloh

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,517
Windows phones OS was beautiful. The lack of apps is what killed it.

So I agree here
 

SnakeXs

Member
Oct 28, 2017
1,254
Y’all did nothing of note pre-iPhone, Nokia was laughing circles around Windows Phone. Second swing was better but mistakes were made, and many of them I can’t see truly chalking up to being distracted.

Cockiness got the best of that venture. Assumed you had time to improve. Ballmer’s iPhone funeral and totally missing what made the iPhone a splash proved that.

But hey, could be. Sure.
 

Metallix87

Member
Nov 1, 2017
9,659
I had a Windows Phone for a few years, and thought the OS was much sleeker and more modern than what I have with Android now. Shame.
 

Joshua

Member
Oct 27, 2017
301
"If we just hadn't been caught abusing our monopolistic practices..."

Windows Mobile sucked, Windows CE sucked before that. Research in Motion was running laps around them with BlackBerry even on things they shouldn't have gotten a foothold on like app development, and then even RIM got cocky and lost out to Android and iPhone.

Edit: I see some confusion from some posts above - he's not talking about Windows Phone, he's talking about Windows Mobile. Go google "Cingular 8125" and "Cingular 2125" to see what he's referring to.
 
Oct 25, 2017
4,165
Windows phones were around long before Android was ever a thing, y'all just fucked it up Bill. (I loved my Palm Treo with Windows but still)
 

Noaloha

Member
Oct 27, 2017
125
Mentally filing this one away in case I'm ever asked why I support antitrust legislation.
 

efr

Member
Jun 19, 2019
1,627
What's dumb about this?
During Windows Phones launchs, Microsoft was releasing bad or poorly reviewed products. Windows Vista, 8 , Zune(got good right before they killed it) and mediocre hardware.

Meanwhile, Apple was on top of the laptop, music and phone world.

Google was directly behind Apple while trying new things being funded by ads.

Putting Windows Metro UI on a Nokia phone wasn’t going to beat open Android or iOS with iTunes. They tried Windows on other meh devices before Android was even a thought.

Microsoft didn’t learn or fix these mediocre products they were releasing until the market space was already filled. If Microsoft didn’t have Windows running the business world, these badly launched products would have killed the company. Azure wasnt a thing yet and that many bad launches would kill a normal company
 

Effect

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,424
I thought this was the generally accepted thought. They were close but there were a number of issues they just didn't tackle fast enough. I honestly remember really preferring the way that OS looked by a LOT. I forget which phone it was but my first smartphone choice was been a phone with Windows and an Android. My only negative on it was the lack of apps that Android OS and iOS had so that pushed me toward the Android phone. Pure functionality won out in the end even though I really wanted the Windows OS. I still don't like or care for Android and iOS.
 

bionic77

Member
Oct 25, 2017
12,068
Why did the antitrust lawsuit make them so late to the market?

By the time windows phone released it was pretty much over. That thing was so late to the market.

He says it distracted him but didn't give a lot of details.

For me that has always been a problem at MS. They have always been a little slow to react or innovate. Not that they can't, just that it takes them time to do so.
 

The Real Abed

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,716
Pennsylvania
Too little too late. Yeah they should have gotten to work immediately as soon as Apple showed off the iPhone. That event alone sent Google back to square one with Android and they got their first phones out pretty close to the iPhone launch. Microsoft took three years to get to the market. By that point Apple and Google already owned the whole thing. They had no chance.

I'd like to see the timeline where Microsoft and Google both made it to market at the same time and both had a fair chance to show what they could do. Let the market decide.
 

Keikaku

Banned
Oct 27, 2017
3,373
Windows on mobile was always trash from the first PDA's. Go home Bill, you're drunk.
 

fuchsdh

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,544
The antitrust stuff hurt them, but I don’t think it really relates to their mobile problems. They had no incentive to skate to where the puck was going before the iPhone, and then it took them three whole revisions to get to the product they needed, while sacrificing any ecosystem advantages in the process. If you bought a W7 or 8 phone you got burned badly.

mostly the antitrust stuff is amusing in that by the time it got ironed out IE’s reign of dominance was already ending.
 

djplaeskool

Member
Oct 26, 2017
6,950
As mentioned above, the old Windows Mobile was garbage and afterwards, Windows Phone was realized at a time when MS was shotgunning mediocre devices into the market and had a poor ecosystem in place.
I personally don't think MS would have had the creative chutzpah to making Windows Mobile into any sort of market driver in the pre-iPhone era. Those old devices were all about pure utility and productivity, and Palm and RIM/Blackberry did it way better.
 
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Tobor

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,704
Richmond, VA
The Windows mobile he’s talking about, the one that existed pre-iPhone, was hot fucking garbage. It was the biggest pain in the ass OS I’ve ever used. They literally drove me into the arms of Apple.

He’s delusional on this. What would have happened had he not been “distracted” is exactly the same result as what happened.

Google knew they needed to copy the iPhone immediately. Microsoft thought they knew better.
 

Baconmonk

Avenger
Oct 26, 2017
4,746
It did always feel like Microsoft just never took that step to fully commit to the mobile space. From the outside looking in it seemed like they limped along in that space for far too long. He could very well be right.

EDIT. Based on the post above me, I could very well be wrong. That OS was terrible.
 

Eoin

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,860
There's maybe confusion about when exactly the antitrust case happened - it was of course way in advance of Windows Phone, with the case proper taking place in 2001, Microsoft's preparations for it would have taken place throughout 2000 and 1999. Windows Mobile launched in 2000, probably roughly in the middle of those preparations and indeed Gates would have had his focus split (although I think this argument overstates how important Gates was to the project).

Edit: I see some confusion from some posts above - he's not talking about Windows Phone, he's talking about Windows Mobile. Go google "Cingular 8125" and "Cingular 2125" to see what he's referring to.
Yep. Lots of people thinking Gates is talking about Windows Phone because they miss their fancy-squares-and-no-apps phone OS. If things had panned out the way Gates is talking about, with Windows Mobile somehow capturing the phone OS space, Windows Phone would never have existed.
 
Oct 26, 2017
1,337
New Orleans
Windows Mobile pre-dates iOS/Android. Windows Phone was a response to iOS/Android.

Bill's suggesting that they could've beaten Apple/Google to the punch had they been more attentive and not let Windows Mobile languish.

And I believe that their mobile efforts were also hamstrung by their fear of PlayStations competing with PCs (an amusing idea, in retrospect), which led to them focusing on the living room with Xbox instead of focusing on the mobile space.
 
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muteKi

Member
Oct 22, 2018
11,053
a sunken pirate ship
Windows mobile was utter trash. At the time it was inferior to Palm OS - to say nothing of Android.
Yeah Windows CE was definitely an interesting idea to me at the time, and 10-year-old me really liked the idea of a palmtop computer in a laptop shape, but going back to me it's clear that Palm had the superior interface and the better (broader!) line of hardware supporting it, ranging from "Game boy for Adults" to "early advanced smartphone" depending when and from whom you bought it. Windows mobile -- especially in form factors meant to resemble the modern smartphone -- just wasn't as good and wasn't on as many devices, especially lower-end ones. Besides that, Windows's probably single most defining feature is that it supports almost every program made for it (as long as it's not 16-bit) which isn't a thing that applies to its mobile ecosystem.