Technology companies and their founders are not really known to admit their mistakes. This is especially true in the cases where these mistakes are really all about the strategy of the company. Most companies wait until the last moment or generally after something has really gone wrong. However, in a somewhat refreshing change, Bill Gates, the primary founder of Microsoft talked about his mistakes. It was impressive to see him go ahead and share his biggest mistake while leading Microsoft. Gates was talking to Eventbrite CEO Julia Hartz at an event hosted by Village Global.
During the conversation, Gates talked about his experience while founding a company, running it and taking a hard decision at every turn. In addition to this, he also talked about work-life balance and his take on vacations. According to the report, Gates stated that leaders should make “a very large sacrifice” in the “early years”. This was especially important for leaders who were working in the software space, engineering things. He also shared the constant struggle about making the right choices for the company. As mentioned above, during the course of the conversation, Gates shared details about his biggest mistake. While disclosing the issue, he also admitted about mismanagement at Microsoft.
Bill Gates biggest mistake: Losing smartphones to Android
His biggest mistake is Microsoft losing out to Android in the smartphone market. Gates revealed that the software world, or rather the world of platforms is all about the winner taking it all. He even states that his mismanagement made Android the standard non-Apple smartphone platform. A market that Microsoft should have won naturally. Having half or about 90 percent as many as apps as your rival will result in you losing out to your rival.
In fact, Gates also evaluated Android to be around $400 billion, an amount that Microsoft should have earned. In addition, Gates also expressed his surprise at the survival of Microsoft, in spite of this mistake. Gates was surprised that Windows and Office “are still very strong”. He also referred to the antitrust lawsuits that made things hard for the company back in the day. Gates noted that if Microsoft “got that one right”, it “would be the company” in the tech world.