At the New York Times’ DealBook conference in New York, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates blamed the antitrust case the U.S. Justice Department brought against Microsoft as one of the major reasons for the demise of Windows Phone.
While Microsoft absolutely dominates the consumer and business computer operating system markets, the company was unable to become relevant in the mobile market. That market is now dominated by Google's Android operating system. Android has about 76.67 percent of the market, according to the latest StatCounter figures, while Apple's iOS takes a distant second place with 22.09 percent marketshare.
Gates says the antitrust case distracted him so much that the company screwed up its push into mobile operating systems:
“There’s no doubt the antitrust lawsuit was bad for Microsoft, and we would have been more focused on creating the phone operating system, and so instead of using Android today, you would be using Windows Mobile if it hadn’t been for the antitrust case,” Gates, a Microsoft co-founder and board member, said at the New York Times’ DealBook conference in New York.
“Oh, we were so close,” Gates said about the company’s miss in mobile operating systems. “I was just too distracted. I screwed that up because of the distraction.” He said the company was three months too late with a release Motorola would have used on a phone.
Gates also mentions that the antitrust case, which began in 1998, was the reason why he stepped down as CEO in 2000. CNBC notes Gates' comments suggest that major antitrust cases against other tech giants could have negative market implications.