Even Bill Gates has one mistake he’s still kicking himself over.
The Microsoft founder spoke at an event by Village Global, a venture capital firm backed by Gates, last week and revealed the “greatest mistake” he’s ever made was giving Google the opportunity to launch Android, the “standard non-Apple phone form platform.”
“In the software world, in particular for platforms, these are winner-take-all markets,” Gates said at the event. “So, you know, the greatest mistake ever is the whatever mismanagement I engaged in that caused Microsoft not to be what Android is, [meaning] Android is the standard non-Apple phone form platform.”
“That was a natural thing for Microsoft to win,” Gates added.
“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,” the billionaire continued. “There’s room for exactly one non-Apple operating system, and what’s that worth? $400 billion that would be transferred from company G [Google] to company M [Microsoft].”
Google acquired Android Inc. for at least $50 million and announced in 2007 the new mobile system that will make Internet access readily available for more people.
Gates said letting Google clinch that opportunity with Android was “one of the greatest mistakes of all time.” He said Microsoft was still “very strong” while mentioning the antitrust case United States v. Microsoft Corp. -- where the tech company was sued by the Department of Justice and 20 state attorneys general -- and other assets such as Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office.
“We are a leading company. If we got that one right, we would be the company. But oh well,” Gates said.
Gates still made a fortune through Microsoft. He’s now the second richest person in the world with a net worth of $102.9 billion, according to Forbes.