Okay, here goes:
There was a Bill Gates interview recently. Bill Gates was asked about how he feels Ballmer has done as a CEO and he said “there are lot of amazing things that Steve’s leadership got done with the company last year: Windows 8 is key to the future, the Surface computer, Bing…” [1] which should probably not be a news to anyone. We have Chairman of Microsoft speaking here so it would be odd if he would start bashing the CEO, calling off any current products, dumping current strategy or anything like that. Current strategy has clear set-up of Windows 8, Windows 8 RT and Windows Phone 8 aiming for familiar UI feel throughout wide spectrum of devices. And Gates is quite excited about the Windows 8 UI.

Then we get to the part that has created so much discussion lately: Gates talking about Microsoft and cell phones:

There is a lot of things, like cell phones, where we didn’t get out in the lead very early and…
(interviewer interrupts and asks if they missed cell phones)
No we didn’t miss the cell phones but the way we went about it didn’t allow us to get the leadership. So it’s clearly a mistake.” [2]

So… Let’s remember what I just said and ask ourselves: “what is clearly a mistake”? Windows Phone 8? Windows Phone 7? Windows Mobile? Microsoft focusing on mobile even a tiny bit? Microsoft strategy?
Or perhaps “the way they went about it” is a mistake? You know – the way that did not allow them to get the leadership? Sounds like… what he said, right?

Of course, there is Tomi Ahonen version of all this. His recent post in short captions:

Bill Gates the Chairman of Microsoft says there is no doubt whatsoever about is the current Windows Phone smartphone strategy by Microsoft succeeding to any possible degree. It is not. Bill Gates says it is ‘clearly’ a mistake.” [2]
He knows this strategy will be rejected by the carriers, and the Windows Phone ‘third ecosystem myth can never be realised. Bill Gates tells us Windows Phone cannot succeed in achieving leadership. It is ‘clearly’ a mistake!” [2]
And now, Microsoft’s own Chairman admits, that while his appointed replacement as new Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, has done many things good with Microsoft like Bing and Xbox and on the desktop, Windows 8, yet the smartphone strategy on Windows Phone was ‘clearly’ a mistake and that it cannot ever succeed in achieving leadership. It is fundamentally flawed. It cannot succeed.” [2]

Should we – like Tomi – expect that Bill Gates is saying Microsoft smartphone strategy as a whole is a mistake and cannot succeed? You know – the only mobile strategy they have and the one they are executing as we speak?


Now we know what happened with the Skype thing. According to Tomi Ahonen it is now a fact that Stephen Elop has admitted there is a Skype-originated boycott. No matter how untrue it is he will apparently repeat it to his grave.
I fear this is going to see the same fate. In the world of Tomi Ahonen Bill Gates just publicly dumped Microsoft Windows Phone as a whole. And I fear he will repeat it as a fact from now on, no matter how much it is tried to be corrected against his face.


[1] http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505266_162-57569859/bill-gates-not-satisfied-with-microsoft-innovation/

[2] http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2013/02/nokia-if-microsoft-chairman-bill-gates-calls-microsofts-smartphone-strategy-clearly-a-mistake-and-on.html