Microsoft Chairman CEO Satya Nadella, in a recent interview with Business Insider, admitted that giving up on the Windows Phone and exiting the Nokia mobile business soon after he became the company’s CEO is a decision that he regrets.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Regrets Killing Windows Phones
This statement comes after he was asked if there was any “real strategic mistake or wrong decision” that he made. He believes that the company could have handled the smartphone business in a better way, which could have made it work.
“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,” the CEO said in the interview.
Nadella took over from ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in 2014, and a year later, Microsoft wrote off $7.6 billion related to its acquisition of the Nokia phone business and cut 7,800 jobs primarily in its phone business. It also plotted the company’s two-year exit from the smartphone market.
“We are moving from a strategy to grow a standalone phone business to a strategy to grow and create a vibrant Windows ecosystem, including our first-party device family,” Nadella had written in an email to employees.
In 2017, Microsoft eventually stopped active development for Windows 10 Mobile and announced that it would no longer develop new features or hardware for the smartphone. The Redmond giant confirmed that the Windows Phone was dead after it struggled to compete against Google’s Android and Apple iOS operating systems.
Further, Windows 10 Mobile users stopped receiving new security updates, bug fixes, and assisted support options in December 2019, leaving users with limited options.
Besides Nadella, the company’s co-founder and former CEO Bill Gates had also said that his “greatest mistake ever” was Microsoft losing to Android.
Despite the setbacks, Microsoft launched its Android OS-powered Surface Duo and Surface Duo 2 phones in September 2020 and September 2021, respectively, to mark its re-entry into the smartphone market arena. However, with no follow-up products and a lack of software updates, it’s unclear what will happen to them in the future.