Big mistake to discontinue Windows phones: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

| Updated: 27 October, 2023 10:48 am IST
Satya Nadella Microsoft CEO

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella expressed regret over discontinuing their mobile phone range in 2017.Nadella said the move was a “big mistake” and called it one of the most difficult decisions he ever made at the company.

In a recent interview with the Business Insider, Microsoft CEO was asked about any strategic mistake or wrong decisions that he regrets taking at the company.

“The decision I think a lot of people talk about – and one of the most difficult decisions I made when I became CEO —was our exit of what I’ll call the mobile phone as defined then. In retrospect, I think there could have been ways we could have made it work by perhaps reinventing the category of computing between PCs, tablets, and phones,” remarked Nadella.

Even Bill Gates, the founder of the multi-billion dollar business had previously expressed similar feelings over Microsoft phones being discontinued and the lack of effort and innovation the company put into the project.

In 2019, while speaking to CNBC, Gates said, “We’re in the field of doing operating systems for personal computers. We knew the mobile phone would be very popular, and so we were doing what was called Windows Mobile. We missed being the dominant mobile operating system by a very tiny amount. We were distracted during our antitrust trial.”

He further said, “We didn’t assign the best people to do the work. So it’s the biggest mistake I made in terms of something that was clearly within our skill set. We were clearly the company that should have achieved that, and we didn’t. We allowed this Motorola design win, and therefore the software momentum to go to Android, and so it became the dominant non-Apple mobile phone operating system globally.”

Windows first entered the smart phone segment in 2010 with the operating system called Windows Phone 7. Initially, the attractive design and a unique interface of Windows phones caught some eyeballs, but it soon started dipping with its competitors constantly upgrading and innovating new technologies.

Their collaboration with Korean mobile phone producer Nokia also did not work out, with new Chinese brands such as One Plus, Xiaomi capturing majority of the uncapped market apart.

Eventually, after struggling to gain control in the market with its mobile phone range, contrary to its PC range, Windows decided to shut shop and discontinued its Mobile phone range in 2017, and moved the devices to the end-of-life stage on January 14, 2020.

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