In a recent interview with Business Insider, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella openly acknowledged a significant mistake made by the tech giant in the past. Nadella's admission revolves around the company's decision to exit the mobile phone market. This move, made in 2017, effectively marked the end of Microsoft's presence in the smartphone industry. It's worth noting that this wasn't the first time a Microsoft CEO expressed regret over this decision.
Nadella confesses to mistake in closing Microsoft's mobile business
Nadella's tenure began in 2014 when he succeeded former CEO Steve Ballmer. Just over a year later, he took a major financial hit by writing off $7.6 billion associated with Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia's phone business. In the recent interview, he reflected on what he considers one of the most challenging decisions during his tenure as CEO: "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."
Nadella admitted that Microsoft's mobile phone business could have been managed differently. In hindsight, the company had the potential to redefine the realm of computing, bridging the gap between PCs, tablets, and phones. This revelation aligns with earlier admissions from Microsoft's top brass. Bill Gates, the company's co-founder, indicated that they didn't excel in the mobile operating system. Steve Ballmer, Nadella's predecessor, also expressed regrets about not prioritizing the mobile sector sooner.
Microsoft made multiple attempts to gain a foothold in the smartphone market but struggled to attain success. Even with the acquisition of Nokia's smartphone division, the company couldn't break the dominance of Android and iOS. Microsoft briefly introduced the Android-based Surface Duo and Surface Duo 2 foldable phones a few years ago, but their future now appears uncertain.