Ex-Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, recently spoke about the company’s attempt to enter the smartphone market with the Windows Phone in a lengthy interview with Bloomberg.
“I would have moved into the hardware business faster and recognized that what we had with the PC that there was a separation. [Our] chips, systems, and software [success], wasn’t largely going to reproduce itself in the mobile world,” Ballmer said when asked what he would do differently before admitting that Apple made some decisions that impressed him.
“I wish I’d thought about the model of subsidizing phones through the operators,” he admits. “People like to point to this quote where I said iPhones will never sell. It was because the prices, $600-700, were too high. It was because of business model innovation by Apple to essentially get it built into the monthly cell phone bill.”
A rather interesting claim that Ballmer made in the interview was that the troubled launch of Windows Vista had an unforeseen adverse effect on the Windows Phone business. “We should have been in the hardware business sooner in the phone case and we were still suffering some of the effects of our Vista release of Windows which sucked up a huge amount of resources for a much longer period of time than it should have because we stumbled over it,” Ballmer states.
When asked about his decision to buy Nokia, he remains much more Zen however. “I certainly wanted to buy Nokia. The board at first disagreed with that, then came back and said the company should go ahead even though I had decided to leave,” he recalls. “If executed in the certain way, I think it made a lot of sense. The company chose to go in another direction and that’s the decision the company made.”
Microsoft’s Windows Phone smartphones rarely experienced the success of Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android-powered mobile devices. The company now appears to be taking a break from creating their own first-party mobile hardware while they work on a rumored next-gen smartphone unofficially referred to by many as a “Surface Phone.” Microsoft has yet to make an official statement on such a device however Satya Nadella has hinted that such a product could be in development.
What do you think Microsoft should have done differently with the Windows Phone in the past and where do you see them going in the future? Let us know in the comments below.