Android beat Windows mobile because of antitrust distraction – Bill Gates

Bill Gates has suggested if it wasn’t for the costly and prolonged antitrust lawsuit in 1998, Microsoft would be the dominant player in the mobile OS world not Google.

This lawsuit, which lasted roughly three years, proved to undermine the Microsoft dominance on the technology world. With the playing-field levelled for competition, Microsoft gradually fell back into the chasing peloton, though founder Bill Gates suggested there was a much bigger impact for the business.

“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,” said Gates at the DealBook Conference in New York. “Instead of using Android today, you would be using Windows Mobile.

“We were so close. I was just too distracted that I screwed that up because of the distraction. We were just three months too late with the release that Motorola would have used on a phone. It’s a winner take all matter for sure, now no-body here has ever heard of Windows Mobile, but oh well.”

Some might dismiss Gates’ proclamation, the OS did launch after all and was not in the same league as Android, though it is an interesting idea.

If Microsoft had not been spending so much time defending its PC software business, more attention and investment could have been directed to the mobile OS. The transition from home computer to the smartphone was after all one of the contributing factors to Microsoft’s decline from power.

Interestingly enough, Gates also claims that if he hadn’t had to defend the business in such an intense antitrust case, he wouldn’t have retired so early.

While Microsoft is now recapturing its dominant position, thanks to a focus on the cloud computing segment, it spent years lurking in the shadows as an also-ran in the technology segment. This was still a very profitable company, but it had fallen from the dizzy heights of the 80s and 90s. The world moved from the home computer to mobile, and Microsoft was slow to react.

On the other side of the equation, Google acquired Android and entered the mobile world. This is perhaps one of the smartest bits of business ever, as Google reportedly acquired Android for as little as $50 million. Without this OS, Google would not have dominated the mobile world and would not be anywhere near as profitable as it is today.

Gates might be exaggerating with his claims here, though the world certainly look a lot different if Microsoft had won the mobile OS race.

Microsoft finally makes the connected PC a reality

It’s a logical step in the progression of connected devices, but Microsoft has delivered on what some might consider an overdue step for PCs; anytime, anywhere connectivity.

Working alongside Qualcomm, as well as partners ASUS and HP, Microsoft has brought out a LTE-enabled PC which can hook up to the internet whenever there connectivity. The team claim the ASUS NovaGo is now the world’s first Gigabit LTE laptop, powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Mobile PC platform.

“Today, at the Qualcomm Snapdragon Tech Summit, I stood with Cristiano Amon, President of Qualcomm Chips, and we delivered on the promise that we made then,” said Terry Myerson, EVP of Microsoft’s Windows and Devices group.

“Along with our hardware partners HP and ASUS, we showed the world the first full-featured Always Connected PCs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset running Windows 10 and a new, optimized version of Office 365.”

What this means for the declining importance of the PC remains to be seen, though it is certainly a step forward which will be appreciated by a workforce which is becoming increasingly defined by connectivity and mobility. And while we would not want to take the shine off a promising product, some might argue this is an announcement which is long overdue.

Considering the internet was initially designed for PCs, some might have suggested connectivity for the more cumbersome devices should have been introduced a while back. After all, connectivity for mobile devices wasn’t even a consideration when the internet was first introduced to the mass market; few people had mobile phones back then.

Perhaps the decline of the PC can be pinned on companies like Microsoft and its partners mentioned on stage. Making the internet mobile was a logical step, the problem was no-one did it for PCs, concentrating on the convenience trends in the smartphone world. No-one seemed to be that bothered to move the PC into the connected world.

In some ways you can’t blame them. Consumers trends were moving towards the smartphones, and if you don’t adapt to consumer trends, you won’t be in business for long. But may be the impact on the PC was completely under-appreciated. Who would have thought the PC would hit such levels of decline, after all, people do everything on their PC!

Hindsight is always 20/20, but it makes you wonder if companies like Microsoft, Qualcomm, ASUS and HP had put the same efforts into making the PC 3G/4G enabled, whether its importance in the world would have declined in this manner. If they had, maybe phones would still be as small as they were a decade ago.

We doubt it, but a PC which could have connected to the mobile internet would surely have been a major player in the connected landscape. Of course, you have to wonder whether it was possible without 4G, or the progress which has been made with chip design and performance, but who doesn’t like a philosophical question on a Wednesday?

What impact this has on PC sales remains to be seen, though there will be a few out there who will hope it turns trends, Microsoft being one of the most notable ones. Anything which can help them forget their disastrous venture into the smartphone world will surely be seen as a plus.

Microsoft finally gives up on the mobile OS game

It was certainly prolonged, sometimes awkward and completely foreseeable, but Microsoft has finally accepted it isn’t up to making its mobile operating system work.

With a series of tweets over the weekend, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President for Windows, Joe Belfiore has seemingly put the final full stop on the obituary for the Windows mobile OS. Windows has not been able to cultivate the same cult-like dedication of Apple, but there might be a few disappointed fans out there. We’ve never come across any of them, but there surely is at least one out there, and it certainly isn’t Belfiore himself.

As you can see from the tweets below, Microsoft was always onto a bit of a loser. Its failed attempt into mobile couldn’t attract the numbers, and its attempt to create an alternative to iOS and Android couldn’t either. Simply put, without the audience there wasn’t really a compelling business case to tempt developers to create apps for the OS. first called this back in 2014, prompting much outrage from the fanboys of the Windows community (we knew they were somewhere) in the comments section. As soon as the decision to make products platform-agnostic was made, the foot was planted on the slippery slope to irrelevance. Microsoft won’t be leaving the sulkers high and dry, but they certainly shouldn’t wait for any new bells or whistles.

All is not lost though, as while this has been an expensive mistake, attention can now be paid to the areas where Microsoft is a bit more competent.