A video that is lately circulating on the net is of Bill Gates speaking to a venture capital Village Global, where he mentioned that his greatest mistake was of Microsoft losing to Android. In the candid interview, Gates acknowledged that leaving Android as the standard non-Apple mobile platform was his grave mistake. Bill Gates lamented that Microsoft missed the mobile opportunity but he made a great statement about platforms, regulation, and antitrust. However, he didn’t blame Steve Ballmer as the offender for Android debacle. Bill Gates stated that in the software world, especially for platforms, these are winner-take-all markets. Hence, whatever mismanagement that he engaged in resulted in Microsoft not to do what Android is.
Gates is commonly referring to as the network effect, which states that the value of the platform to users is really developed by all the other people on that network. There’s been a lot of great work considering how this plays out over the last few year. In this respect, one can be familiar with Ben Thompson, who has set out a very refined argument about the network effect known as “Aggregation Theory.”
The network effect is also why the regulatory approaches, chiefly the auto industry don’t track to the tech industry perfectly. Gates also highlighted the success of products like Windows and Office that have aided Microsoft to reach new heights over time. However, he expressed that due to the lack of bringing a platform like Android and missing the chance of powering an operating system against Apple’s iOS, Microsoft is still “a leading company” not “the leading company”.