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

Laser Man

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,577
As a former windows phone user that liked the way the OS felt... nobody made apps for it, I'm not sure why, I guess it was the forced requirements from Microsoft on the dataformat or a submission/validation process that nobody wanted to do?
 

Macam

Member
Nov 8, 2018
113
As others have noted, that’s a fairly nonsense argument that lends way too much credit to Microsoft. They just viewed absolutely everything through a Windows lens and relied too much on their monopolistic practices to gain marketshare that there really wasn’t any way it was going to catch on.

I had a Windows Mobile phone and it was garbage; RIM was eating up the business market and Windows Mobile was just basically a shrunk down Windows, which wasn’t really suited for where phones were going. Pretty much that came after it, including Windows Phone (which was heavily influenced by what Apple and Google were doing), was better than Windows Mobile.
 

GameAddict411

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,143
When anyone mentions Windows or Microsoft to me, the second thing that immediately think is "janky." I actually think I would have liked MS approach to a light OS.
 

jroc74

Member
Oct 27, 2017
6,471
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.
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)
Yup.

Look up the HTC HD2. Look at the year it came out.This is before they revamped and made Windows Phone. MS were right there...and just somehow missed it.

Underestimating the iPhone was another problem. As much as ppl talk, talked about Android copying the iPhone...Google had 2 prototypes. One all screen and one that looked like a BlackBerry. They were prepared for whichever scenario was more successful. Ppl might not know or remember but in the beginning there were Android phones that had buttons, physical keyboards.

They were just prepared, didn't underestimate either scenario.

For all the copying claims from rabid iPhone fanboys back then...they had no response when some of us said a phone, UI, OS is more than the home screen layout. Once you went into Settings...Android looked more like Win Mo than the iPhone.

IMO, the problem with Windows Phone, 7, 8 is it tried to be a hybrid of Android and the iPhone instead of choosing firmly one side. They should have picked Android...since it was so similar to Win Mo.
 
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digdug2k

Member
Mar 28, 2018
740
As a former windows phone user that liked the way the OS felt... nobody made apps for it, I'm not sure why, I guess it was the forced requirements from Microsoft on the dataformat or a submission/validation process that nobofy wanted to do?
It didn't really help that the main company they needed apps from was also a major OS competitor at that point. Google pretty frequently uses the "you don't have enough users for us to invest in" for one of their products (YouTube for instance) as an excuse to hobble competitors of other products. Its one danger of having single companies compete in so many different markets, and the reason we regulate monopolies like them.
 

Chikor

Member
Oct 26, 2017
4,585
As a former windows phone user that liked the way the OS felt... nobody made apps for it, I'm not sure why, I guess it was the forced requirements from Microsoft on the dataformat or a submission/validation process that nobody wanted to do?
Windows phone came late in the game and was never able to build a sizeable market share, which meant that apps really struggled to make money on it.
Gates is talking about Windows Mobile though, which is a completely different OS, and I don't think there was ever a chance it could have been evolved into a credible consumer mobile OS. MS was always gonna have to scrap it and build a new one, and I don't think it was the anti-trust trial that made them be super late in realizing that.
I mean, they spent a lot of time and money on the Kin.
Remember the Kin?
 

Tap In

Member
Oct 28, 2017
1,229
Gilbert AZ
he's not wrong, Windows mobile had a foothold and was on its way and then Windows phone showed they knew how to get the best out of the software.

The worst part about this is that government antitrust lawsuit was such a dagger and yet today there are a dozen companies that are acquiring Mass amounts of power by gobbling up company after company and soon to be left as monoliths .

Was a big waste of time and now they won't do anything about the near monopolies in Media and food etc.
 

iGeodude

Member
Oct 27, 2017
580
Maybe they would have had a chance if they stuck with the Windows Mobile 6.5 interface. It was very similar to the iOS and Android UI's at the time.
 

Chikor

Member
Oct 26, 2017
4,585
Maybe they would have had a chance if they stuck with the Windows Mobile 6.5 interface. It was very similar to the iOS and Android UI's at the time.
Windows Mobile 6.5 came out 2 years after the iPhone, and it felt really outdated next to it. It was just an attempt to slow the bleeding until Windows Phone came out. I think that whole windows mobile OS was always gonna be a dead-end, it's very hard for me to see it evolving to a credible consumer OS, and MS didn't seem to think that it could either.
 

The Real Abed

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,716
Pennsylvania
I believe it. They had a lot of ideas in the 90s and early 2000s. The surface concept was shown off in 2002 by Gates.
Yeah, and then they shelved it, decided no one wanted it, decided to not even put any R&D into the idea at all. If Apple hadn't finally given us the iPad the idea might still just be collecting dust. (Also Apple had prototypes and concepts of tablets way back in the '90s too.)
 

iGeodude

Member
Oct 27, 2017
580
Windows Mobile 6.5 came out 2 years after the iPhone, and it felt really outdated next to it. It was just an attempt to slow the bleeding until Windows Phone came out. I think that whole windows mobile OS was always gonna be a dead-end, it's very hard for me to see it evolving to a credible consumer OS, and MS didn't seem to think that it could either.
Yeah, it probably wouldn't have beaten out iOS, but it probably would have staved off Android. I mean look at this, it looks like early Android and was way more capable than iOS. It's not in the video, but you could see your system resources on your phone and the file system. Windows and Android would have fought over the Power Users.

 
Oct 29, 2017
314
So in essence, had Microsoft not been tried for abusing its monopoly, it would have had a much bigger chance at securing another?

Cry me a river.
 

Chikor

Member
Oct 26, 2017
4,585
Yeah, it probably wouldn't have beaten out iOS, but it probably would have staved off Android. I mean look at this, it looks like early Android and was way more capable than iOS. It's not in the video, but you could see your system resources on your phone and the file system. Windows and Android would have fought over the Power Users.

It had no multi-touch support and it only got an app store kinda late and it was awful. The whole experience just wasn't great. I think moving to a totally new OS with Windows Phone 7 was the right move from a technical perspective, they just got there too late, but I don't think trying to patch windows mobile into an iphone/andriod competitor was ever gonna work.
 

Afrikan

Member
Oct 28, 2017
4,820
I used to use Microsoft Pocket Street Maps on my Pocket PC in the early 2000s. It came in handy when I lost my rental car in Washington DC, on my first ever trip there.

All those years using Microsoft Mobile....spoiled me, and I still feel limited at times using Android to this day.

Back then you didn't have to worry about accidentally clicking on anything...lol
 

Septimus Prime

EA
Verified
Oct 25, 2017
4,708
Yeah, it probably wouldn't have beaten out iOS, but it probably would have staved off Android. I mean look at this, it looks like early Android and was way more capable than iOS. It's not in the video, but you could see your system resources on your phone and the file system. Windows and Android would have fought over the Power Users.

It was pretty, but ran molasses slow, and doing anything with it was a huge pain in the ass.

I'll even go so far to say that Windows Phone failed partially because Windows Mobile was so damn awful. As a Windows Mobile user, I didn't even think to look back at MS's mobile OSes after that garbage experience.
 

MartinB105

Member
Nov 8, 2017
2,146
Yeah, okay Bill. Good that Android won, can't stand Windows even on PC, wouldn't want that crap on my phone and tablet.
 

Cipherr

Member
Oct 26, 2017
4,486
Maybe. Not with those tiles though. That was terrible, and Windows in general is on a massive upswing since they left that nonsense behind. I just built my new PC and went to Win10 finally and the first thing I did was strip those boxes out of the start menu.

Yeesh.
 
Oct 25, 2017
7,448
Underground
I was a big WinMo (not to be mistaken with Windows phone) fanboy back in the day, and nah. Antitrust or not, WinMo had no chance of beating anything. It was feature rich for its time, but it would never have beaten Android. Windows Phone may have had a chance if it had been released back when Android was just launching, but they took far too long to react, unlike Google.
 

jelly

Member
Oct 26, 2017
11,390
Sounds like he is just making excuses.

I never used Windows Mobile but Microsoft themselves axed it in favour of Windows Phone and then axed Windows Phone in favour of Windows Phone 8 and then axed that in favour of Windows Phone 10. That's like 3-4 resets of the entire thing, what a complete shit show of their own making. IPhone might have been bare bones for a while but it was night and day, past and future at a glance and from ease of use that solidified it before the App Store. Microsoft were competing with old iPhones not the latest. Did they have nice ideas, sure but treading water. They needed to come in feature rich, app heavy like they had been around for years but the platform resets and I would say the innovative strict UI hampered that even more even though I quite liked some metro aspects, Microsoft at that time put themselves in a straight jacket design wise.
 

GSG

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,122
I call bullshit, Windows Mobile failed because it was an absolutely terrible OS more than anything, and people switched to a competent OS the first chance they got. Windows Phone was way too late to the game and was a completely different product altogether. Even before Android or iOS came out, WinMo was having its lunch eaten by BlackBerry, so not sure how Bill Gates could even make that statement with a straight face.

I had a Sony Xperia X1 with WinMo on it, beautiful phone but using the OS was an exercise in frustration(constant freezing, texts getting lost forever, clunky UI etc.). At times, I wanted chuck my phone out the window and go back to my dumb phone.

Android and iOS were a godsend compared to WinMo.
 

SapientWolf

Member
Nov 6, 2017
3,304
I used Windows Mobile for years. I even had a Touch Pro 2. It felt slow and clunky compared to Android on the Nexus and the eco system was much worse.

MS simply failed to see the trend of phones becoming status symbols for the cooler set. Their design philosophy was completely wrong for that audience.
 

Fliesen

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,443
Yeah, no, Bill.
It wasn't the "antitrust woes" that made the whole "Windows on ARM" experience hell - the Windows mobile division tried and tried again and barely made an OS worth using. Also, add a shitty update policy - Got a Windows Phone 7 device? Yeah sorry, no upgrade to Windows Phone 8 for you.

Microsoft didn't focus on Mobile not because of Anti-Trust issues but because they still thought of the mobile OS as some kind of after thought, an entry drug into Windows 8.
Windows Phone happened during the "Windows 8 on everything! On your Xbox! On your phone! On your PC! On your Tablet" (or "Metro" on everything) era.

It's not that Microsoft didn't just try hard enough. Oh, they tried. But they failed.
Like... fuck - y'all remember the Microsoft KIN?!


And i have no idea if it's smart or just super dumb that these two upcoming, similarly looking, similarly branded devices run two vastly different operating systems. (Windows 10X vs. Android)
 

Dixie Flatline

alt account
Banned
Sep 4, 2019
1,892
New Orleans
They announced one last month, it runs Android with a custom skin.
Eh, not a fan of the tablet/phone hyprid. Neat tech but it's too big. Also I think the folding thing is a few iterations away from being the ideal choice but it's not there yet. Needs to be smaller and more fluid. I don't mind MS chasing that tech since it has potential but I wish they release a more traditional Surface phone in the meantime.
 

Stinkles

343 Industries
Verified
Oct 25, 2017
15,945
Yeah, no, Bill.
It wasn't the "antitrust woes" that made the whole "Windows on ARM" experience hell - the Windows mobile division tried and tried again and barely made an OS worth using. Also, add a shitty update policy - Got a Windows Phone 7 device? Yeah sorry, no upgrade to Windows Phone 8 for you.

Microsoft didn't focus on Mobile not because of Anti-Trust issues but because they still thought of the mobile OS as some kind of after thought, an entry drug into Windows 8.
Windows Phone happened during the "Windows 8 on everything! On your Xbox! On your phone! On your PC! On your Tablet" (or "Metro" on everything) era.

It's not that Microsoft didn't just try hard enough. Oh, they tried. But they failed.
Like... fuck - y'all remember the Microsoft KIN?!


And i have no idea if it's smart or just super dumb that these two upcoming, similarly looking, similarly branded devices run two vastly different operating systems. (Windows 10X vs. Android)
I think that picking os based on form factor and size is smart in both directions.
 

maxx720

Member
Nov 7, 2017
1,130
The other issue was that Android was always free I believe and Microsoft charged for the OS. They rectified this later but it was too late.
 

Fliesen

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,443
I think that picking os based on form factor and size is smart in both directions.
I don't disagree with that - i strongly believe that it was smart for Apple to never try to "merge" iOS and macOS, but merely streamline them.
The right OS for the right form factor, of course!

The issue is: This is like the iPad Pro and the iPhone having a different OS.
Which, yes, they currently do - but the user experience, the app store etc. are still the same.

If you make two devices that have separate App stores from one another, i'm not sure they should both be called "Surface Neo" and "Surface Duo", while also having the same industrial design.
I think that's going to be equally confusing for people as the whole Windows RT vs 'regular Windows' fiasco.

I wonder if they're just testing the waters, seeing how they can maaaaybe still make a Windows branded mobile OS happen in this roundabout way.
 

aeolist

Banned
Oct 27, 2017
4,043
maybe you shouldn't have been running microsoft like a criminal organization then bill

the kind of shit they did in the 90s was absolutely wild and they should have been broken up post-trial
 

Rushersauce

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,159
Yeah, no, Bill.
It wasn't the "antitrust woes" that made the whole "Windows on ARM" experience hell - the Windows mobile division tried and tried again and barely made an OS worth using. Also, add a shitty update policy - Got a Windows Phone 7 device? Yeah sorry, no upgrade to Windows Phone 8 for you.

Microsoft didn't focus on Mobile not because of Anti-Trust issues but because they still thought of the mobile OS as some kind of after thought, an entry drug into Windows 8.
Windows Phone happened during the "Windows 8 on everything! On your Xbox! On your phone! On your PC! On your Tablet" (or "Metro" on everything) era.

It's not that Microsoft didn't just try hard enough. Oh, they tried. But they failed.
Like... fuck - y'all remember the Microsoft KIN?!


And i have no idea if it's smart or just super dumb that these two upcoming, similarly looking, similarly branded devices run two vastly different operating systems. (Windows 10X vs. Android)
Yeah, this. I'd say the OS was amazing, tho. But everything else is like you said.
 

Panther2103

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,379
I really liked the windows OS on smart devices. It was really nice looking. Just had nothing really I could do with it because there was no app support.
 

MPrice

Member
Oct 18, 2019
512
Windows Mobile isn't Windows Phone.

This is Windows Mobile:


Yeah my first "smartphone" ever was something that ran this OS and looked about like this and I couldn't disagree more with Bill. The real company that lost out on this train is RIM. Not only did they make better smart devices but BBM actually was pretty cool to use and was spreading similarly to AIM. And their enterprise strategy was lightyears ahead of anybody.

This is likely just an ego thing for Bill.
 
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Zerokoolpsx

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
2,748
I used a Windows phone. Like no apps was ever made for it. I knew one other person who used it. I used the HTC S620. Overall, it was kinda slow. The wifi-adapter didn't work on that device lol. The itunes store and Google play had more apps which made it more attractive. It just didn't appeal to the majority of smart phone users.
 

lunarworks

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,691
Toronto
I find it interesting that while win10 can run gangbusters on just about anything they still went android for the surface phone
Yeah it's so weird. Considering that the Windows 10 paradigm was largely built out of the expectation of use with, like, embedded devices or portables using tablet interface methods (i.e., the touchscreen over mouse or trackpad) I'm kind of amazed that they went that direction. Sometimes with Microsoft it really feels like the coordination between groups is nearly nonexistent, despite the way that they've been consolidated over the years.
It's not weird at all. There's one word that explains it all: Apps.

Nobody in 2020 is going to buy a phone that has no proper app ecosystem. That's why Windows Phone failed in the first place. Microsoft threw money and support at developers, but they just wouldn't write them. Mobile developers were already prioritizing iOS, where the money was, and had enough on their plate supporting Android after that, and Windows developers stuck up their nose at UWP and continued to code for Win32.

Win32 really is the anchor that Windows' fate is tied to.
 

LukeOP

The Fallen
Oct 27, 2017
3,262
delusional is all I can say. Apple was already dominating the ecosystem before windows phones were a thing.
 

LCGeek

Member
Oct 28, 2017
1,439
I find it interesting that while win10 can run gangbusters on just about anything they still went android for the surface phone
windows isn't as lean as linux android kernel or bsd

also windows the current windows nt kernel can't fit in small flash partitions lets say 16MB and under while the other two OS I mentioned can be.

I don't buy what gates mentioned at all. His company had it's head up it's ass when android and apple started making moves.
 

Mass Effect

Member
Oct 31, 2017
5,839
The original iPhone was not good. Far too expensive, 2G only. But look the killer apps are right there. Safari, YouTube, Google Maps and iPod.
The original iPhone was sold as a full-screen media player + web browser + phone. That was a huge deal in 2007.
This right here. Judging by some of the replies, it’s been so long that people either have forgotten or weren’t old enough to realize that simply being able to watch stuff portably in a suitable way (as in not on some shitty 4:3 2” screen or on an unwieldy “portable” DVD player), surf the web, AND be able to listen to all your music carried over from iTunes on a single device was huge. And being able to get on YouTube? On your phone? Crazy. It meant you no longer had to carry around multiple devices anymore. Everything entertainment-wise was right there.

Another thing people forget was that the iPhone was the young person’s phone. If you’re a teen or twenty-something around this time you don’t give a shit how well you can answer emails on it—Blackberry’s aren’t cool; they’re your dad’s phone—you care that it carries over all your music you got and can watch movies on it. You care that you can go to MySpace on your fucking phone! It was the cool device to own. As others said, it was like being in the future.

Semi-related: Much of this was why the PSP got popular for a while. It was sort of this all-in-one media portable device that let you do everything. Of course, proprietary memory sticks, shitty physical format (UMDs), and the rise of smartphones kind of killed it, but it was kind of the same idea as he iPhone.
 
Dec 4, 2017
1,173
The original iPhone was a pretty crappy device. It felt like a prototype that got shoved out prematurely in order to pay for its own continued development.

However. It offered things no competitor at the time could. A large screen you could comfortably watch videos on, or surf the net without squinting (remember that, at the time, 2.1'' was the average phone screen size; the iPhone was 3.5'', over 50% more). It offered iTunes integration. It offered a friendly, intuitive and responsive user interface (at the time the regular flow was to hunt through various menus using the buttons, or joystick if the phone had one). Best of all, it had a screen you didn't need a stylus to peck at. Your fingers were enough. Fingers.

Microsoft were out cold. Unlike Google, they had never even considered a mobile platform design language (in terms of OS streamlining, device ergonomics etc.) aimed not at the working user, but rather at the private consumer. From a pure constructive standpoint, the iPhone wasn't fundamentally alien; it was, essentially, a minimal-button telephony-and-messaging-capable PDA. Those already existed on the market. Where it completely broke with every single convention of PDA design was that every bit of productivity stuff (save for notes and mail) was thrown out, and its interface was designed for user experience first and foremost.

Microsoft at the time simply did not have an OS they could replicate that on. Google could, since they had hedged their bets, by making two distinct styles of smartphone prototypes (also, some rumors say, by a bit of corporate espionage which didn't tell them much, except that the Apple phone may not have conventional buttons, which in hindsight was more than enough) so they had a team that had worked on a completely button-less control scheme for an OS. Microsoft's main mobile product was based on Windows CE, originally designed for computerized lathes and other industrial machinery (and bodged into PDAs). This proved to be a massive shortcoming, especially since Ballmer initially ridiculed the iPhone and did not devote large amounts of resources into creating something similar from the get-go. In some respects, it was understandable. Ballmer's Microsoft weren't the only ones to dismiss the iPhone. The RIM people thought (at first) the same, and Palm (who had a huge share of the PDA market) as well. Why would anybody buy an overpriced PDA with no PDA functionality, just because you could use your fingers instead of a stylus and watch videos on it?
By the time Microsoft realized what was going on, nearly two years had passed.