Bill Gates, Co-Founder and current Chairman of Microsoft, recently sat down with CBS This Morning to discuss his philanthropic efforts. But among his comments on clean energy and polio vaccinations, Gates also talked about Microsoft’s current lineup (Windows 8, Bing and Surface), and how the company failed to capitalize on the cellphone trend early, right around when the iPhone hit the market and when Microsoft was still on its Windows Mobile platform.
“We didn’t miss cellphones, but the way that we went about it didn’t allow us to get the leadership,” Gates said. “So it’s clearly a mistake.” It’s unclear if Gates was specifically talking about Windows Mobile or Windows Phone, although Windows Phone is currently fighting against BlackBerry 10 for a third-place spot in the global smartphone market behind iOS and Android.
Gates doesn’t delve to deeply into the matter, saying it’s too complicated, but clearly he regrets the company’s lack of innovation in that area before the iPhone hit the market. He doesn’t say one way or the other how satisfied he is with products like the Surface, but he does admit that Microsoft’s lineup isn’t enough—that there needs to be even more innovation.
Whether that will come with the next Xbox, or the unity of the company’s current Windows platforms, remains to be seen. The underlying message is about measuring success. So where does Microsoft go from here? Gates wouldn’t say. Perhaps it’ll jump into the smartwatch craze.