Software giant’s chairman says the company’s history in the cell phone sector was “clearly a mistake” during an interview on CBS.
Although Bill Gates stepped away from his day-to-day role at Microsoft nearly five years ago, he still keeps a close eye on the company he co-founded — and he isn’t always happy with what he sees.
During a recent interview broadcast this morning on CBS This Morning, the Microsoft chairman was asked by Charlie Rose whether he was happy with Steve Ballmer’s performance as chief executive. Noting that there have been “many amazing things” accomplished under Ballmer’s leadership in the past couple of years, Gates said he was not satisfied with the company’s innovations.
“Well, he and I are two of the most self-critical people — you can imagine,” Gates said during the interview (see video below). “And here were a lot of amazing things that Steve’s leadership got done with the company in the last year. Windows 8 is key to the future, the Surface computer. Bing, people are seeing as a better search product, Xbox.”
“But is — is it enough?” he said. “No, he and I are not satisfied that in terms of, you know, breakthrough things, that we’re doing everything possible.”
Gates was especially critical of Microsoft’s position in the smartphone sector, where the company currently holds just 2.4 percent of the market, according to recent IDC data.
“There’s a lot of things like cell phones where we didn’t get out in the lead very early. … We didn’t miss cell phones, but the way we went about it didn’t allow us to get the leadership. So it’s clearly a mistake.”
The primary focus of the interview was the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation, the philanthropy to which Gates has dedicated most of his attention since stepping away from Microsoft in 2008.