Gates: Microsoft Lost Costly Opportunity To Android


Looking back at a time when the market was moving toward mobile, Microsoft Co-Founder Bill Gates said his biggest mistake was not putting Microsoft in the position of Android as the largest “non-Apple” mobile operating system in the world. The executive noted that software — and especially in the area of platforms — is a winner-take-all space, CNET reported.

Gates said, according to the report, “It really is winner take all. If you’re there with half as many apps or 90 percent as many apps, you’re on your way to complete doom. There’s room for exactly one non-Apple operating system and what’s that worth? $400 billion that would be transferred from company G to company M.”

Gates indicated that the distraction caused by an antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft may have been a factor in Google gaining the opportunity to enter the mobile market. The search company rolled out Android 10 years ago, and that operating system counts more than 2 billion monthly active users. (That, according to reports, is over two times the number of users of Windows 10.) At the same time, the report pointed out that Steve Ballmer, who served as CEO after Gates and retired in 2014, said his largest mistake was allowing Google to dominate the market for search.

In other Android news, Google recently announced it is working on bringing electronic IDs to Android devices. The company released the news on the final day of its conference for developers. It was also noted that the digital ID card would be a key component of a digital wallet that could take the place of loyalty cards, credit cards and plane tickets but can’t work as an ID card sill.

The process is not simple and would require complying with specific procedures for standardization and cryptography. Google wants to develop an identity credential API into Android phones, said Rene Mayrhofer, head of Android platform security. “We will be providing APIs and a reference implementation of HALs for Android devices in order to ensure the platform provides the building blocks for similar security and privacy sensitive applications,” Mayrhofer said per reports in May.


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