Steve Ballmer's relationship with Bill Gates suffered over smartphone strategy disagreements

Steve Ballmer's smartphone strategy when he was head of Microsoft caused some strain between himself and company co-founder Bill Gates, according to a new interview with the former CEO. Ballmer revealed to Bloomberg that the two had a difference of opinion on the strategic direction of the company, specifically over how important it was to be in the hardware business.

From Bloomberg:

"There was a fundamental disagreement about how important it was to be in the hardware business," Ballmer said. "I had pushed Surface. The board had been a little -- little reluctant in supporting it. And then things came to a climax around what to do about the phone business."

Ballmer is of course referring to his decision to push the purchase of Nokia's phone business in 2013 for more than $9 billion — a purchase that would ultimately be written down after current CEO Satya Nadella took over. Ultimately, however, Ballmer regrets not getting into the hardware business sooner with respect to the mobile sphere:

"I would have moved into the hardware business faster and recognized that what we had in the PC, where there was a separation of chips, systems and software, wasn't largely gonna reproduce itself in the mobile world," he said.

Ballmer's comments reflect the feelings of current CEO Nadella, who recently acknowledged that Microsoft had "clearly missed the Mobile Phone." Nadella, however, is now focused on Microsoft's efforts to "grow new categories" — something which can be seen in the company's renewed focus on services and even the Surface team's emphasis on creating new categories with each device.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • #BringBackBallmer -sure he was a sweaty, obnoxious guy, but he had real passion for the company. Nadella is so boring and hasn't supported Windows Phone, Band, or really even Xbox properly since his arrival
  • As much as I like Ballmer and his passion for Microsoft, he clearly missed the smartphone wave, even after having a commanding share with Windows Mobile those days. Then he did not jump into the mobile bandwagon fast enough - around the time Android came. He should have just thrown in whatever condition WP was at that time - it would have been way better than the mess Android was then (and is). It was too late when WP finally hit the shelves, reset is history. Sad that an amazingly capable mobile OS has to bite dust - everytime I use Android, I realize just how much better WP as an OS is :(
  • Yep, Ballmer missed the smartphone wave but Nadella is trying his best to bury Microsoft's effort. Rather have a guy that would at least try than one that gives his own users the shaft.
  • I cannot agree more with you: I went back to Android because apps I need everyday don't exist for WP, and it is a big mess:
    There is no consistency between apps, and even within the OS. WM is so superior!
    I miss it every instant.
    Unfortunately Microsoft let it down.
  • Same here :(
  • I feel same, Windows Phone has always been superior than Android as an OS, but I'm on Android now also since I was looking for a midrange Lumia device and the 650 didn't convinced me, and I didn't had enough money to pay for the Lumia 950 or 950XL. Now, if iOS bridge can fix the App gap issues and it can now support Internet of things like Phillips Hue, Lego Mindstorms, Drones, and many other ecosystems that work on iOS and ANdroid the Surface phone will be my next purchase.
  • Windows Phone have been much more intuitive and superior than both ios and android. Using both with these ugly gridded icons feels like I'm on windows XP. The wp UI is revolutionary, but its biggest disappointment are that lazy developers not porting their apps on wp because the UI has to be different. Toying with iphones felt very claustrophobic. I could not stand ugly basic UI's and this is why Microsoft had to shift from windows phone 7 ui to what it is now to match itself from the rest.
  • My relationship with all of them struggles at times.
  • Sounds to me like he wanted to move faster into hardware for phones but the resistance from the rest of the board which is what caused the company to delay. Satya is just playing to the board by burying it. Let's hope it works out in the end.
  • Nadalla is focusing more on the enterprise and business's. I think Microsoft will make a BIG comeback with a all new watch, phone, and the teased XBOX.
  • I believe it'll happen (Surface phone, Microsoft Surface Wear!) once msft loots huge profit from its current strategy.
  • They already have, profits have steadily risen under Nadella. 
  • Of course profit margins will go up if you cut much needed investment in your platforms future. The real test of strategy is long term profit streams.
  • +1
  • It might happen! Evan Blass just leaked Surface Phone photos on twitter today. check it out.
  • That's uber cool but it's none other than a fresh concept of Surface phone, isn't it? Evan could just be teasing a concept that he liked.
  • He replied to a guy questioning the same as concept "it is more than just a concept" and further added some real-life but marketing photos.
  • its funny to see Tom Warren reduced to "just a guy Evan replied too". Evan showed what many surface fans wanted to see: concept of an intel based windows phone that could probably run win32 apps. Evan says its more than just a concept, so what does that mean: A- prototype (possibly from before intel quit) just like the mclaren leaks, or B- something coming Soon^tm. ​Personaly, as much as I want it to be B, I think A is way more likely. Couple reasons:
    1- It was super thin and sexy. Where does that leave room for a desktop processesor and the battery it would require?
    2 - If MS has something so gangster, why leak it 4 months in advance through Evan (surface studio was leaked maybe 1 month in advance to Mary Jo Folley)? Evan gets previews of new stuff, but we're talking "the next lumia, surface pro or xbox" (things that already exist and are recieving iterative improvements) and not "the next hololens or brand new surface line". The "game changers" stay quiet until they're ready for limelight.
    3 - I don't like all this freakin Nadella hate, but I think we can all agree that IF surface phones magic beans are that it can do win32, that by definition targets enterprise and professionals. Evan does consumer stuff mostly. Does MS leak enterprise devices to EVleaks? That makes no sense.
    ​ ​Disclaimer: I obviously hope I'm wrong and that its an awesome surface phone about to be released, but after Santa Clause turned out to be a lie i've tempered my expectations on other things.
  • It's not Nadella that I hate. It's the fact that he lied to me.
  • That wasn't a Surface Phone that he leaked.
  • I've been disappointed for years that Microsoft did not capitalize on their enterprise and gaming dominance with Mobile. They have done NOTHING to leverage Mobile with the 2 areas that give them a Market advantage. I've been thinking this since WP 8.0 and it is just as true today as it was then. To quote the Princess Bride, "Inconceivable"!!!
  • Agreed. Why the hell didn't they bring out an XBox 360 phone years back that tied right into gaming. Massive 360 market left untapped. Idiots...again.
  • Dream on... Microsoft is very clueless as at now, and I'm afraid they are going to remain so for a while unless something tragic happens to Android and IOS. Microsoft is directionless in regard to mobile strategy. Pocket PC/Windows Mobile was a much versatile OS than this mess of a poor copy of IOS Windows Phone is.
  • Ballmer all the way for me too, this one has no love for Microsoft and for the developers.
  • Missing Ballmer would take him back, I like what going on in windows 10 world but the reason for lack of win mobile wasn't because of lack of interest it was lack of effort, the current ceo. hes a apple guy period. As long as hes there there wont be growth in mobile, unless it comes from some one like nokia or hp, or one of the others. Hes not a user or a fan of the os. 
  • They should've designed a phone and slapped surface on it and let someone else build it.
  • Myerson lately and others before pointed out the new device will not be a phone per se. It will be a mobile device with ARM, cellular connectivity and phone capabilities. And if they do it right, it might be the next big thing after the smartphone
  • Myerson should just shut up and go to meet Joeb...
  • Yes!!!
  •   #BringBackBallmer
  • as long as he is away Microsoft will be great again. Having Bill Gates inside microsoft far more important than bringing back ballmer look at them right now they are flying and doing great work. 
  • On the back of ballmers work. Ballmer worked to make Xbox spending billions to fix a mistake no questions asked. Then r&D into surface which is now their premier brand. And the transition to one core win10 by doing win8. He missed the smartphone market yes, but windows never had more than 25% even in its heyday, since bb always outdid them. At least when he was ceo Mobile was a focus now its a...well we have to support arm because. And nothing else. He handed Nadella a complete manufacturing company for phones, and they blew it, hard.
  • because Microsoft did not want Nokia no one did except ballmer he is the one who forced it on Microsoft and after he left they throw it away. no one would want to work for someone like that its my decision no one else have one except me.
  • And now their once 12% 25% and other percentages across the globe tanked. Yay good move for padding the books!
  • They never hit more than ~4% worldwide.
  • Pre-2007 they had lots of market share
  • Pre-2007 is irrelevant.
  • That's a load of BS. If literally no one else agreed with the Nokia purchase, it wouldn't have happened. A CEO is not a king.
  • Yep, almost everything that has come out of MS during Nadella, was started during Ballmer. W8 as precursor to W10, but also work on W10 itself started then.
  • Nadella is seemingly intent on turning MS into the next IBM. You remember IBM right.  Right?
  • yeah sure they sold a ton of 950s and 950 XL.. Do you know why Google dumped Motorola.. Balmer brought microsoft from a leader to an almost fading entity. Microsoft has somewhat revived and I wouldn't give the current CEO all the credit. But saying that the resurgenece is because of Balmer is just beyond me. For all the talk that people here do, how many suckers bought an Elite X3. I have one.. How many are buying Acer? How many bought a Lumia.. the biggest critics for Nadella here have Androids/iphones with them for some time.  
  • After having some earlier doubts last year about Satya Nadella as Microsoft's CEO, I think 2016 has proven that he is the man.  All Microsoft divisions except mobile are healthy with Satya, that is a lot (Surface, Xbox, Bing, Office, Skype, Azure and Enterprise) and Windows 10 on the desktop is going great after 1 year of being free, now consumers that haven't got Windows 10PC before will have to purchase a new PC or pay for the OS which is good. Windows 10 shouldn't be given away for free.
  • There would have been minimal growth if it wasn't free. I upgraded for free, then bought a copy months later when building a PC. Well worth the $85
  • Pretty much ALL of those things were started by Ballmer.
  • Yep
  • second that
  • Huh, so it was Ballmer who was championing mobile while getting pushback from the rest? People deride Nedella but he's united MS's departments, the Surface is considered more innovative than what Apple is doing, and everyone seems to universally love Win 10. Ballmer gave us Win 8 and the HP Slate...
  • Surface was introduced under Ballmer, Nadella didnt go back in time and invent it and add to that the dev time of years and its clear Surface was all Ballmer.
  • The Surface was a BILLION dollar write down until the 3rd edition started to sell... Under Nadella
  • Surface RT bombed, but the work done there lives on in W10. Pro did well from the get-go afaik, also the 3rd gen was already well on its way during Ballmer. I wouldn't be surprised if work on Surface Studio started then too.
  • Personally I loved Windows 8.x.
  • I like Windows 8.1.
  • I liked Windows 8.x. WIndows 10 is better in a lot of ways, but frustratingly backpedaled in other ways.
  • Like what ways, I can't seem to recall what I am missing out on. I seem to be lost in the fact that Windows 10 is the best Windows OS that I have ever used, and I have used every windows OS since 3.1 
  • tablet only usage. the charms bar that came in swyping from the right was the best thing ever. other than that, it's mostly the same if not better
  • I liked the charms, but understood why they were killed with most people still not using touch-based W10 machines. It was quite annoying to trigger them when they weren't wanted, something I used to do a LOT on my desktop PCs.
  • Tablet interface is a big step back from W8x
  • You do realize there is the 'tablet mode' right.
  • Lol.. I remember the hate 8.xs got.. fans surely are fickle and almost bipolar
  • I had recently restored a PC with 8 on it... It reminds me how unintuitive it was compared to Win 10. I've been an insider since the early days of 8 and, while some people like it, I don't. I do love using 10
  • Ballmer gave us Surface too, he even said he got pushback over that in the article.
  • Surface was Ballmer's baby, not Nadella's.
  • And it's grown up by Panos.
  • There's no denying that.
  • Yeah it's panos' baby, but ballmer was the one that was willing to sink billions of R&D into it, Nadella probably wouldn't have done so but is now being forced to by the board after they saw how much of an influence the Surface Pro 3 had on their desktop market at large.
  • Indeed, but what I think is, how Surface devices treated, and I think, Panos is behind of this success, regardless of how CEOs (whether Nadella or Ballmer) put effort to this line of Surface devices. That's what I've interpreted regarding his experiences during the early Surface (Pro) device was being developed.
  • Surface was ballmer, Xbox was ballmer especially the saving of red ring death. Win10 wouldn't be anywhere without the onecore work from 7 to 8 and now 10. MS didn't wake up to 10, it was years of work under ballmer to bring it into one core you see today.
  • That's true. Arstechnica has a wonderful article about Microsoft's single OS journey.
  • A new article? Can you link it?
  • Seriously, it took me 15 seconds to google/bing it. I'm NOT going to post a link, get off your backside and find it yourself.
  • You aren't op...
  • A simple N.O would have worked !
  • Do link it, please.
  • Nice interview.
  • Yes, Balmer would have saved mobile. The genius who gave us Kin. /s Look, Balmer did some good things with MS, but he represents the past, not the future. He needs to just quietly go away.
  • Verizon screwed up the kin in so many ways. Microsoft's idea was to make an inexpensive device. Verizon didn't play along and didn't offer the low cost plans. Go back and research the facts. Geez, I remember when facts were better than spin.
    Have some humanity.
  • He missed the boat but at least he had a boat and bought Nokia to give MS a chance...Nadella has squandered it in search of cloud profits to pad the books, nothing more. All the things people want from MS is thanks to Ballmer.
  • Actually, it's just the opposite. All of the things you are probably looking forward to about Microsoft (Surface, UWP, Bing/AI advancement), were all directives pushed forward by Ballmer, sometimes despite the pushback from the EPS focused board members. So he very much represents the future, it'll just be Nadella who will get most of the credit despite never actually believing in it.
  • I just happen to think a lot of those initiatives were poorly executed including Windows Phone. Many have recovered under Nadella.
  • Yes, Microsoft's mobile presence has soared since Nadella took over.
  • You are joking right?  WinMo is nearly dead
  • As a former MSFT employee, I was never a fan of Ballmer. And I distinctly remember the day in 2006 that Gates announced he was going to retire from running day-2-day activites... there was a lot of excitement because many speculated that it was actually going to be an announcement that Ballmer was retiring..... imagine our surprise when it was BillG. What I found interesting is that because of the incorrect speculation that day, stock was going up (after hours trading,) but right after the announcement that Ballmer would take over, the stock went down. IMO, they should have let Ray Ozzie take over as CEO and keep SteveB in sales where he did a good job.
  • Interesting insight. Thanks.
  • If you don't mind my asking, is there any particular reason why you thought Ballmer would not make a good CEO? Looking back at how history has unfolded, especially with Nadella at the helm now, has your opinion of Ballmer's ability to lead the company changed?
  • At my level, Ballmer seemed to be more of a cheerleader instead of having an idea of where MSFT was going in the future and what it took to get there. I saw him several times when he attended internal MSFT conferences and met him once (even have a picture of us,) but I always felt it was more fluff than substance. He was extremely exuberant when in front of people, like a cheerleader, but what he lacked were the skills to get the team to move the ball down the field (except his overbearing push for sales, sales and more sales - some of the things that went on with regards to selling stuff back then make Wells Fargo look benign, and because I tried to blow the whistle, I'm no longer there.) And when I compare that to other senior leaders like Ray Ozzie, there's a stark contrast. And if we wanted to look for someone with charisma and leadership skills, Brian Valentine would have been a good choice. I don't know Nadella at all, but from what the people that worked for me (that are still at MSFT) tell me, they are very happy with the changes Nadella is bringing compared to Ballmer. Of course, I really hope that Nadella saves the Windows Phone!
  • Well his vision on Surface, Azure, office 365, and Xbox were spot on. Please don't say Azure wasn't created under Ballmer, because it was, Satya was just a high up employee working on it's creation.
  • I don't know about Ballmer and Surface & Xbox, but Ray Ozzie was a strong leader behind Azure and the Office cloud and interconnectivity. His work and leadership on the subjects just wowed us! But MSFT ignored him and he left. Thankfully, some of the things he started did get moving, in spite of Ballmer.
  • A, "high up employee" is one way to put it. Nadella's tenure at Microsoft prior to becoming CEO: President of the Server & Tools Division (February 2011 – February 2014) Senior Vice-President of Research and Development for the Online Services Division (March 2007 – February 2011) Vice-President of the Business Division Corporate Vice-President of Business Solutions and Search & Advertising Platform Group Executive Vice-President of Cloud and Enterprise group Nadella is a brilliant technologist and visionary. Ballmer was a hot head salesman. I know one Microsoft employee who ever had anything positive to say about him. Most will tell you stories about him screaming at product development teams and throwing furniture. The reorg prior to his departure was a meaningful effort but too little too late. I turned down a role at Microsoft in 2012 largely because of the toxic culture and terrible annual review policies. Salary: Check
    Stock options: Check
    Benefits: Outstanding so check
    Culture: Toxic Under Nadella, I would take the job. That is saying alot.
  • Thank you for the thoughtful response. I, and am sure others as well, appreciate the insights. As an outsider, it is hard to know whether better candidates for the position existed within Microsoft at the time. I can understand the idea that as a leader, certain characteristics can make you more liked, more impactful, more respected. However, the other side of leadership is having a strong strategic direction and focus. That requires a great ability to reason, but also a degree of intuition in my experience. So perhaps Ray Ozzie and Brian Valentine may have been better managerial leaders, but perhaps they might have been weaker strategists. I do think it would be a mistake to discount the strategic abilities of an individual like Steve Ballmer by judging him on his outward mannerisms. As far as Nadella goes, it's just hard to determine what of the current strategy is his doing, and what is being carried over from before. We can say that in terms of execution, he does have a game plan in mind and appears to be executing it with focused determination. I don't necessarily agree with all of his decisions, especially in cutting QA staff to largely crowd source QA, and completely letting WP fall off the map, but we can hope that he will successfully execute whatever he has planned at this point.
  • What he has planned is to turn MS into an enterprise-only IBM clone. Unfortunately for him, the company has some really popular profitable products that he can't risk killing (yet) to go all in with enterprise only.
  • What's interesting is that under Ballmer, they hired a myriad of IBM execs. It didn't work too well for us.
  • I was never under the impression that Ballmer ever had a vision of any kind. He isn't a technologist. He green lit projects, yelled at people and pushed sales. He actually ENCOURAGED interdepartmental competition but he killed anything that didn't prop up Windows or Office. Somehow, Microsoft was able to make great software despite Ballmer not because of him. But frankly, it is really Sinofsky that takes the blame for the state of W8.x and EVERYTHING that followed including mobile. He is an egomaniacal jerk that seemed to think that he could build Windows in the same way that Jobs built products at Apple. Don't get me started on how incomplete Windows 8 was for the enterprise. It was a joke. Conversely, Nadella is playing chess while his competitors are playing checkers and solitaire.
  • Everything thrived under Ballmer, Windows, Office, and, Xbox was the number one console profitable or not. He just missed the cell phone boat and from what you're saying, people didn't like him personally!
  • People dump on Ballmer a lot, but I don't think he deserves it. When he went in as CEO he was exactly what MS needed; A hardnosed, business focused CEO. His job was to keep the company going, deepen the partnerships, and steady the keel, which he did. While other tech companies saw issues, Ballmer largely kept things stable. He did not always do it in the best way (and was often an ass), but he kept them from becoming a zombie. Should he come back? No. One of Ballmer's major mistakes was staying a year or two too long. Coming back now, when they need vision and risk, not hard business skills, would be disastrous.
  • Great screw over MS phone admit doing it.....then you don't try to make it right,and fix the phone division....but just focus on other stuff....ofcourse MS is guilty too,for firing Balmer,and letting Nadella destroy their phone market
  • Nadella is using corporate raider techniques (layoffs and cutbacks) to raise the stock price and his income and it's working. I don't believe this short term thinking is good for Microsoft. It wastes resources and opportunities.
    Computers have always been getting smaller, more powerful and adding functions. We need long term thinking around mobile that includes "all the features and capabilities" of Windows Phone 8.1 plus much much more. The clock is ticking. I think Microsoft needs to step up their game, both speed and quality.
    Just my thoughts.
    Best Wishes
  • We got a winner here, giving up mobile is going to come bite MS in the ... later.  Missing out mobile mean missing out search data from billions of users, missing out ad money, app money and billions of beta tester.  Also missing out the whole eco system like selfv stick, POS..etc  I am not much of app user but it pissed me off when the few that I used were killed, ebay, amazon, kindle and health(or whatever the name was before health).
  • Remember though, Microsoft was already big before it took on all Nokia employees (30k)? Reducing the size of the company meant that they don't pay all workers tl do 1/3 of the work. By shaving down the overall footprint, they should get somewhat similar performance and save a ton of money (and possibly time) in the process. If there is one thing college and day jobs have taught me, it's that some people never feel the urge to work really hard and seem to drift around, looking at their phones and computers during lectures or talking with friends while "working." I can't imagine it being any different at a company. The cuts might even increase productivity.
  • Slashing staff because 'those that remain can eaily do their jobs' is usually step one in the aformentioned corporate raider technique of destroying a company in preparation to tossing it to the jackals to squabble over its corpse. If it wasn't for those damn pesky profitable and well liked consumer product devisions Nadella has been forced to keep, things would have progressed far faster.
  • I know, it's just so weird that as you say they are planning to fold the company, their stock is higher than it ever has been, and has been improving YoY for 5 years. Maybe you're incorrect on this one, dude, x)
  •   I miss Balmer.  He really had passion for Microsoft and the conviction to stick with efforts to establish new verticals.  I really don't think Nadella is an incubator, he seems to want to kill products quickly if they don't catch on quickly.  Balmer on the other hand was dogged in his attempts to broaden Microsoft's reach.  Sure, there were missteps where maybe he should have given up, but there were others that his drive bore fruit that still drives significant revenue today. ​If Nadella was running the company in the 2000's to early 2010's, I shudder to think what would have come of the Xbox (first outing was a flop), Surface (another relative first outing flop), and even Windows....with the Vista and Windows 8 debacle.  Balmer was brash, but when I bought into something he tended to survive for quite some time.  Heck look at the Zune and how long it was supported.  With Nadella, I'm hesitant to buy "new" MS products for fear that they'll just drop in a year or so. ​I feel like an old man, but I truly despise "Mobile First, Cloud First"....    
  • Couldn't agree more with these sentiments. Whereas I saw Ballmer as passionate, engaged, and driven by a desire to create consumer products, I see Nadella as cold, dispassionate, and focused on operational numbers. Nadella is about as "corporate" of a CEO as it gets in my book. He "restructures" to cut costs, is dismissive of most risks that fall outside of his core focus, and answers to the investors, not the consumers. It is fitting that Nadella leads Microsoft in the same era that Tim Cook leads Apple. I hesitate to think what would happen if either had to face the former leaders of their counterparts.
  • Agreed
  • Amen to that.  Sure Microsoft's stock is up with Nadella, but how many employees has he cut?  And what exactly has he brought to the table?  Everything I've seen so far was incubated under Ballmer, with maybe the exception of the Surface Studio and buying LinkedIn. ​Oh wait, he's certainly birthed some "screw the customer" initiatives, like increasing enterprise licensing costs every year and completely borking what little made sense in MSFT's volume licensing structure (I'm looking at you, "core licensing on Windows Server"), in what seems like an attempt to continue to drive up on-premise costs so the cloud looks more appealing.    ​The Ballmer Microsoft seemed to be "stab you in the front"....Nadella's Microsoft is more "smile to your face and stab you in the back".  
  • I can't agree that Tim Cook is playing safe as much. He launched Apple Watch. He made a big bets on Apple Car that are likely not going to pay off. He removed the iOS top manager to keep up with modern design. It is almost certain that Apple is working on AR product. Nadella still has a lot time to launch some new products as Cook is longer CEO and eventually catch up, but for now I am unsure if it goes beyond Surface Studio.
  • The watch was Job's 'gift' to Ives.  The car is dead before it even started.  Much like Nadella, Cook hasn't really had a hand in anything much and is still implementing Jobs era plans. Cook is a supply chain guy with no vision of his own (not that Jobs really had much either other than liking things that OTHERS designed).
  • Thank you, the scary part of Nadella's system is how he's treating corporate customers though. He isn't very "kind" to say it nicely. And normally companies don't really think highly of such vendors that continually raise prices and try to force people to work their way (the cloud) - See SAP or IBM.
  • Even the whole Surface RT / Windows RT -debacle wasn't that bad of move, Microsoft just approached it wrong, and made some wrong choices in hardware. Part of it was the silo-structure that MS had, no doubt.
  • Not trying to hear it from Balmer. He slepted like like a toddler when it counted.  Even google was smart enough to get in but Balmer couldn't be so bothered. No offense to the fans of Balmer but I'm happy he's gone.
  • What? What is it that you say Balmer couldn't be so bothered, to get in?
  • HoloLens was also Ballmers creation. Surface, Xbox, and there would be no Windows 10 without Windows 8. He deserves more credit.
  • Ballmer not perfect, Nadella is killing Windows phone. The enterprise push will fail. Not making a clear commitment to Windows Phone, is a great disappointment.
    Going back to android, pls NOOOOOOO. It's a terrible os.
    As for the app gap, no problems, I have what I need to do my work properly.
    Thank You Nadella....rotfl
  • Nadella isn't "killing' Windows Phone IMO. He is being realistic about the state of mobile as it relates to Microsoft. Windows Phone has to carry its own weigh and Nadella has his eyes wide open. So for now, he has to keep a low profile until MS can bring a phone that fits his standards.
  • Several of MS's billion dollar divisions took a LONG time to make a single red cent, but are now key to the company, at least thoise parts of it that consumers see and like.  BuyingNokia wasn't perhaps the smartest thing to do, but stalling mobile products and development was even dumber.
  • That's the thing. MS mobile division isn't stalling like people are saying.  I suspect Nadella isn't satisfied with what the phone division has done to differentiate from what currently exists in mobile if it is to compete in that space. What is the current motivation MS could sell to those interested in mobile that doesn't already exist at any number of price points? Not much. And Nadella knows that.
  • But being realistic is exactly what's killing it. Being realistic would have meant killing desktop windows a few years back and seeing as there was no mobile to fall back on in essence just straight up killing windows for everything but the expanding cloud computing.
    ​But here we are, billions lost to the Surface line and now finally we're seeing a universal swing in the growth of the pc market that is buoying up windows sales. Being realistic wasn't going to get us there, being realistic wouldn't even have gotten us OneCore because realistically you want what google has, 4 OSs for IoT, Mobile, Desktop and Server.
    ​Nadella is doing a good job but I'm not quite sure how he persoally supports consumer efforts; seems more like the board is pushing the consumer efforts after seeing how useful they are now that they've turned a market in their favour (XBox, Surface, Windows10 and even HoloLens - all started and billions spend under Ballmer).
  • For anybody who flew past the article and is down here eager to share opinions in the comment section, I highly recommend going back and watching the interview first. Especially if your intention is just something along the lines of "good riddance" to Ballmer. Just a thought.
  • Good riddance to Ballmer. Didn't watch the interview. Don't need to.
  • So it sounds like Ballmer wanted to get into the hardware business earlier while Gates and the board dragged their feet, then ultimately gave in but it was too late. I know that there were two internal initiatives to fight the iPhone, one was to update WinCE while they worked on what would become Windows Phone 7.0. The CE version was eventually scrapped and put them behind. But my reading of this, what Ballmer wanted would have given them a chance.
  • It would appear that way. And for what it's worth, I also think it would have given them a chance.
  • Being late isn't even close to the reason why Windows Phone failed. The initial reason was the actions Microsoft took to avoid Android-like fragmentation. WP7 had a hardware ceiling. Which ultimately forced MS to reboot the OS when the current hardware surpassed their arbitrary hardware cap. Then they left behind all WP7 devices due to them being underpowered, (Again, avoiding fragmentation) zeroing out their userbase. They had to rebuild their userbase from scratch with WP8 in 2012, then do it again with w10m in 2015.
  • There were also software-side issues with lacking APIs and languages. Not to mention, even if the single core processors of the day were faster than the dual cores, MS failed against the marketing which claimed otherwise. The UI was also generally unappealing for many, who wanted their own background / lockscreen images.
  • Obviously some people might have preferred a background image on the start screen, which of course came in WP8.1, but of course the lockscreen was always user-adjustable.
  • #BringBillBack
  • This I can recommend.
  • Bill's been back since Nadella took over. He's now the "technology advisor" at Microsoft upon Nadella's request. In other words, Bill has now a more active role at Microsoft. Most of Nadella's decisions are made after Bill is consulted.
  • And whatever you think of Nadella... MS's stock is at an all time high and many news outlets are saying they are innovating more than Apple at this point.
  • And employee satisfaction is way up compared to under Ballmer.   "At the close of 2013, the final days of former chief executive Steve Ballmer's reign, Microsoft only gave a 51% rating for CEO approval. Nadella took the reigns in February 2014, and the CEO approval rating hit 88% by the end of 2015. This year isn't over just yet, but Microsoft is now performing around 10% higher in employee satisfaction than the industry average, says UBS, which edges out Apple."
  • Microsoft don't have a strategic in Europe for Windows phone devices. Don't have publicity in the media.....
  • Yep! It's sad that in some markets (like German, Italy) Windows Phone got around 10% of the market and Microsoft does nothing! I can't see a single add in my country (Portugal)... I even have problems getting apps from banks (only one bank has an app if I'm not wrong)... All providers sell Windows phones but none of them have Windows phone apps!! Strange no? And yes, I'll keep my 950 XL... no Android for me, no iOS... As for the app gap, I have all the apps I need on Windows Phone
  • 10% in Italy or Germany is what, maybe a 100,000 phones a quarter? No to mention they only hit those numbers based on the Nokia name and cheap price of the L520? Not really worth the effort it required especially after those L520 buyers didn't upgrade to the newer budget models, let alone the flagships. Nokia was leaving for a reason. They did not have a sustainable business with Windows Phone.
  • All those European purchasers of mid-level Lumias have moved on by now to Android and iPhones... you see a Lumia here or there, but they're not in the telecom stores like they used to be. 
  • Windows Phones only sold in Portugal for the same reason they sold everywhere else in Europe: they were Nokia phones. And there were ads for the Microsoft Lumias here in Portugal on some magazines... But because the phones were not Nokia's, no one gave a sh*t. Enjoy your 950. If it serves your needs, great. The rest of the World and the rest of the country will be on Android waiting for you to join us eventually. You can only lie to yourself for so long...
  • I like what Nadella is doing(UWP,surface, etc.), but I hate the fact that he doesn't care about windows mobile. I believe that killing Lumia was the right choice. I believe that Microsoft should make only 1-2 phones every year that can compete with android and iOS and show the true power of windows 10 mobile. I, also, hate the fact that he fired so many employees, because without them progress on mobile is super slow. I love windows 10 everywhere except on phones. Microsoft, please get serious now!
  • Nadella doesn't care about Windows Mobile? Nobody does. 
  • Developers developers developers #BringBallmerBack
  • Another idiot.
  • That's why Ballmer uses a Samsung Galaxy, Gates uses an iPhone, and Nadella.. he probably has a Motorola StarTAC running Windows 10 RT
  • It's too early to say who is right or who is wrong. Let us leave that to the people of 22nd century and let us do our work.
  • What is important to realize is that we have yet to see any products (either hardware or software) that have originated with Nadella. Everything we have now (including Surface Studio) was started and approved by Ballmer. A normal R&D cycle for (esp) hardware is 2-3 years so Nadella has yet to prove he has the chops there. Nadella has mostly eliminated every bit of hardware innovation that MSFT had, he ceased and cut phone development as soon as he became CEO and so things died after the 950 which was the last Nokia designed device. Personally it would not surprise me if MSFT takes a dive in the next two years as allthe innovative enegineers have either been cut or left.
  • Very worrisome.
  • Perhaps it is worrisome as Kevin Rush alludes, but that largely depends on how you view their success. If they don't have a hardware presence, does that automatically make them a failure? It may be important to have a product in place to adequately understand hardware+software integration, but I disagree that it's a *necessity*.   They can still have a phone OS and have others produce the hardware.
  •   A Ballmer article draws me like a moth to a flame.  I was getting ready to write up an epic rant, but then I realized: Ballmer is a nothing.  If he were as good as some of his adherents claim, he would still be running things and we wouldn't be having these articles/discussions  now.  But here we are....  
  • To say "Ballmer is nothing" is a very limited perspective. I feel like Ballmer fell victim to the very corporate culture that Microsoft had ahered to for so many years, and while as CEO he should have been more free to push for mobile/hardware/his vision, you can tell by how often he mentions the "board," that he felt it (an epitome of corporate governing culture) limited his intentions. Of course you could say the "board" felt weary after events like Kin, Zune, etc. but you cannot discount how much of what Kin (social OS mobility)/Zune (subscription music, UI)/Vista (cloud beginnings with Live Mesh, etc.) were insights into what could have been Microsoft being a leading position had they not been so poorly executed.
  • Microsoft need to recognize the strategy they have is right. Business people need Microsoft apps they are also consumers. Universal apps across all platforms are key to success. Bringing collaborative tools and technologies for work and home are great. But loyal Microsoft consumers want a Microsoft product range to beat the likes of apple and put Microsoft back on top. I have bought the 950xl phone It's brilliant. I have a surface 4 tablet again I love it. I use office365 and other tools everyday. I still use my Microsoft band2 daily, on walks and bike rides. What and where microsoft are failing is marketing who they are and where they are going and how they are better. Apps to the stores will come. Sexy products and apps priced right will win people over. Build it and they will come.
  • Ahh, the marketing dreamers. Look, there's no way you are going to fool people with marketing nonsense if your product is subpar. Windows phone OS was subpar. Windows 10 Mobile even made some improvement, is still very much subpar, and there's no amount of cosmetics you are going to put on it to make it sell.
  • Re: Emi Mimo,
    Microsoft writes software. They can write great software. They do need to step up their game.
  • That is a ridiculous claim, compared to what was happening in the competing OS's of the time, Windows Phone was not "subpar." It offerred a clean, smooth, streamlined OS with deep, cutting-edge social integration. It may not have had file-system access but neither did iOS. It may not have been the absolute fastest but it was not slow, and did not suffer from the need for massive resources, or bloat or creeping lag like Android. The fact that the market rejected it is as much an issue of branding and the app network effect as much as anything else. Windows 10 Mobile is an entirely different story and a totally different OS--but, either way, it's branding, "coolness" and app network effect that sells phones in the end. The OS only needs to be sufficient.
  • OEMs rejected the OS, which is the most important factor there is. Nothing to show at the stores, so it failed. Windows mobile does not provide even close to the customization level that Android has. Add in the restricted hardware requirements. Made it harder for OEMs to choose Windows over Android.
  • Pipe dream from fan boy. It's over, dude.
  • Gates is a genius, Ballmer is an idiot.
  • I won't be surprised if Microsoft announces the death of Windows 10 Mobile.
    Anyway, nothing last forever. Android and IOS will also die someday
  • Re: Emi Mimo,
    So you think computers will stop getting smaller? Mobile won't be important?
  • Microsoft doesn't need to announce the death of Windows 10 Mobile. It's dead. What does that mean? Clearing out inventory and moving on. Microsoft and mobile is kaput. They should never have gotten into the game as late as they did and they got their asses handed to them by two much smarter and savvier competitors. The move from 8.1 to 10 was the last nail in the coffin. It was a suicide and their shareholders and markets won't give them a second chance on this... ramping up billions to try it one more time. There's absolutely no market for a Microsoft mobile OS at a consumer level or even an enterprise one. If you haven't noticed, Microsoft builds more apps for iOS and Android than they do for their own platform. Get it now? 
  • So Satya essentially blames Balmer for missing mobile and Balmer blames Gates for not getting into hardware soon does Gates blame Jobs for the inception of the iPhone the created this whole debacle?
  • I think the next big thing will be a cell phone with both arm and x86 inside. Nadella saw the gap and is waiting for intel to create a new market
  • I don't get why everyone around here is so negative all the time. W10M continues to be developed and we have a very interesting future ahead of us with the "creation of new categories".
  • It strikes me that many of those with negative comments have a sense of entitlement.
  • Re: DennisvdG,
    Great comment.
    Best Wishes
  • You're an idiot too. 
  • You seem mad brah.
  • Re: TechBell,
    Respectively, "name calling"? May I ask, how old are you?
  • Hmmm.
  • I think Microsoft is on the right course - and so does the market seeing as how the stocks have been rising. What people havent realised is that Microsoft has practically come to terms with the fact they missed out the mobile era of 'smartphones' and are looking beyond to the next mobile era whether it's wearables (Hololens), or pocket PCs (Continuum). Smartphones wont be around forever and when the next mobile era comes to life Microsoft will once again be ahead of the curve with muitples years worth of both hardware and software developement.    
  • Eckz89: You're an idiot. 
  • Re: TechBell,
    Again, "name calling"?
  • ...and thousands lost their jobs over it and billions were wiped from Microsoft's balance sheets due to Steve Ballmer's incompetenece and hubris. What do they have to show for it? Lumia 950XL, less than 1% of the market and no way out of an impossible situation. Nice going, Microsoft.