Microsoft CEO regrets cancelling Windows Phone and mobile

Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, has joined the ranks of his predecessors in acknowledging the company’s significant missteps in the mobile industry. Nadella, who took the helm in 2014, succeeded Steve Ballmer, who, during his tenure, oversaw a $7.6 billion write-off related to Microsoft’s Nokia phone business acquisition.

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In an interview with Business Insider, Nadella candidly admitted that Microsoft’s exit from the mobile phone business could have been handled more effectively. Reflecting on a challenging decision made during his tenure, he stated:

“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. In retrospect, I think there could have been ways we could have made it work by perhaps reinventing the category of computing between PCs, tablets, and phones.”

Years after the Nokia write-off, Microsoft officially declared the end of Windows Phone. While the company has since introduced Android-powered handsets like the Surface Duo and Surface Duo 2, the absence of a clear successor and the lack of software updates have clouded the future of these devices.

Nadella is the third Microsoft CEO to acknowledge the company’s mobile blunders. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates lamented his “greatest mistake ever” was losing to Android. Former CEO Steve Ballmer also admitted to the company’s slow response to Android and the iPhone threat, acknowledging the failure to shift focus to mobile devices earlier.

Over the past decade, Microsoft has redirected its efforts towards developing apps for Android and iOS platforms. The company continually updates its Phone Link app to connect Android and iPhone devices to Windows, and it maintains a close partnership with Samsung to ensure the preinstallation of its mobile Office apps on Samsung’s Android devices.