Steve Ballmer is retiring as CEO of Microsoft. He readily admits his company reacted too slowly to developments in the mobile and smartphone markets. He also stated that Microsoft phone sales were disappointing. He was addressing a group of Wall Street investors and analysts, and told them that, with hindsight, he realized that the company had placed too much emphasis on its operating system and missed out on mobile phone opportunities.
Ballmer said, “I regret that there was a period in the early 2000s when we were so focused on what we had to do around Windows that we weren’t able to redeploy talent to the new device called the phone… That is the thing I regret the most. It would have been better for Windows and our success in other foreign factors.”
However, reports are surfacing that trying to view the situation from a “glass half full” stance, Mr. Ballmer said that for Microsoft mobile the only way to go is up and went on to say that the company has significant opportunities in the market now, due to its recent acquisition of the mobile phone unit of Nokia. He thinks this will allow Microsoft to speed up development on its Windows Phone platform.
Microsoft will reveal the second generation of its Surface tablet on Monday. The first Surface, released in October 2012, did not do well. Last July the company admitted that it had written off $900 milion in unsold Surface stocks. There is widespread speculation that this was what accelerated Mr. Ballmer’s departure from the company. A successor has not yet been announced. Whoever the successor may be that takes his place in 12 months, he or she will have the unenviable task of trying to ensure that the words “Microsoft phone” do not become synonymous for failure in the cutthroat mobile market.
Image via microsoft.com