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Bill Gates admits he’s ‘not satisfied’ with aspects of Microsoft, says mobile strategy was a ‘mistake’

bill gates interviewHe may not be steering the good ship Microsoft any longer, but Bill Gates still takes a deep interest in the company he helped to build, with some comments made in a recent CBS This Morning interview likely to raise a few eyebrows.

A couple of minutes into the six-minute interview, which covered a variety of subjects, interviewer Charlie Rose asked Gates if he was happy with the performance of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

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Instead of jumping in with some corporate fluff about how Ballmer is doing such a fabulous job as boss of the Redmond-based computer giant (OK, there is some fluff in his answer), Gates said that actually both he and Ballmer weren’t happy with Microsoft’s track record of bringing innovative products to the market.

“Well, he and I are two of the most self-critical people you can imagine,” Gates told Rose. “There were a 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, people have seen, is a better search product….but is it enough? No, he and I are not satisfied that in terms of breakthrough things that we’re doing everything possible.”

Gates also freely admitted that the company had failed to establish itself in the mobile market early on, something he regretted. “There’s a lot of things like cell phones where we didn’t get out in the lead very early,” he said, adding, “The way that we went about it didn’t allow us to get the leadership. It’s clearly a mistake.”

When Rose asked why Microsoft didn’t get out in the lead early on, Gates brushed the question aside with a brief, “Oh, that’s too complicated.”

Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS continues to languish behind Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android platforms in terms of popularity, with recent comScore data showing it had a paltry 2.9 percent share of the US smartphone market for the three-month period ending December 2012, marking 0.7 percent decline on the previous three months. By way of comparison, BlackBerry had 6.4 percent of the market, iOS 36.3 percent and Android 53.4 percent.

Although Gates currently holds the position of non-executive chairman at the company he created with Paul Allen back in 1975, he now spends the majority of his time working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a philanthropic organization he founded in 1994 that concentrates its efforts on reducing extreme poverty around the world and, in the US, helping to improve the education system, among other things.

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Report: Microsoft may name Satya Nadella as CEO, Gates out as chairman
report microsoft may name satya nadella ceo gates chairman

Update 1:46 p.m. ET:  Satya Nadella is in contract talks with Microsoft, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
Detailed within a report released by Bloomberg earlier today, Microsoft's enterprise and cloud chief Satya Nadella will likely be the next CEO of the software company. Nadella has been on a short list of potential candidates for the last several months, but it appears as if Microsoft's board is prepared to offer Nadella the job. While the plans aren't final according to people involved in the selection process, an official announcement of Nadella as CEO would end a five month search process that originally started with more than 100 potential candidates.
In addition to Nadella as CEO, insiders have indicated that Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is considering stepping down from the Chairman position and shift into more of a part-time role within Microsoft. Much of Gates attention has been turned to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation over the past several years as well as other philanthropic ventures. Bloomberg sources have also indicated that Microsoft lead independent director John Thompson is being considered to take over the Chairman position after Gates steps down.

Assuming the report is accurate, 46-year-old Nadella would, of course, replace 57-year-old Steve Ballmer by August 2014. While investors will likely be wary about any new CEO, MIT professor Michael Cusumano believes Nadella is a good choice for the position. Specifically, Cusumano said "Microsoft is a contentious enough place that you wouldn't want to bring in someone who lacked credibility with the engineers."
Working at Microsoft since 1992, Nadella headed up the Cloud OS platform that powers Microsoft's clouds services that include Office 365, Xbox Live, Bing, SkyDrive and Skype. Regarding his education, Nadella received "a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Mangalore University, a master's degree in computer science from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Chicago" according to Microsoft's employee profile page.

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Awkward moment occurs between Bill Gates, Jimmy Fallon, and a MacBook
awkward moment occurs between bill gates jimmy fallon and jimmys macbook watch the video here

A very awkward exchange took place between 'Late Night' host  Jimmy Fallon and tech industry titan Bill Gates during Gates' recent appearance on Fallon's show earlier this week. If you haven't seen or heard about this yet, you need to check it out.
The segment begins innocent and interesting enough, with Fallon praising Gates' charitable efforts and his success in eradicating polio from India. The conversation then moved to what Gates thought would be next in terms of big overall trends in the computing industry. It was then that Fallon realized that on his desk sat a MacBook, while the former CEO of Apple's chief rival, Microsoft, was perched mere inches from him.
Thus, the awkward moment began, as Fallon apologized for having a MacBook on his desk around Gates, and then opting to close the notebook's display lid, only to then take it off his desk completely, along with the accompanying mouse and keyboard.
For what it's worth, Gates seemed to take the situation completely in stride, shaking his head and smiling as if to say "no big deal." Gates even seemed to say "it's okay" as Fallon apologized to him for having a MacBook plainly out in the open around him.
Between his charitable causes and clips like these, Gates clearly takes the crown as the "coolest" tech billionaire out there, as Jimmy Fallon noted at the start of the clip.
You can watch the entire exchange below.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments below.

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Microsoft Surface chief says tablets with ‘multiple aspect ratios and sizes’ on the way
microsofts panos panay says surfaces with multiple aspect ratios and sizes on way microsoft surface

Microsoft gave its biggest hint yet that it’s planning to release Surface tablets in other sizes, when Panos Panay, a senior figure in the Surface team, said the company is working on “multiple aspect ratios and sizes”.
Panay was speaking at a special Surface-related event at Microsoft’s Seattle store this week. Despite plenty of rumors floating around, the computer giant has remained tight-lipped about the possibility of a larger or smaller alternative to its current Surface.
However, when asked at the event whether the company was working on a smaller Surface, Panay couldn’t resist offering up a little something to keep the rumor stew bubbling away.
“We have a lot of great things that we are thinking about and working on, and there are multiple aspect ratios and sizes and awesome things to come from Surface,” he said. “That’s the best answer I have for you.” Whether the company follows Samsung’s lead and launches a vast range of tablets and phablets in different sizes, or simply offers a couple of variants, only time will tell.
The current 10.6-inch Surface tablets, refreshed versions of which were unveiled last month, have a 16:9 aspect ratio, making the ‘long’ screen a little awkward to use in portrait mode for some users. A smaller Surface could launch with, say, a 7-inch screen and a 4:3 aspect ratio. Going by Panay’s words, Microsoft could feasibly roll out larger Surface tablets with a 4:3 ratio, too.
Apple held off launching a smaller iPad for several years, with late CEO Steve Jobs once famously saying that a tablet any smaller than its 9.7-inch device would need to be sold with sandpaper so users could file their fingertips down to size to allow them to touch the on-screen buttons. After Tim Cook took over from Jobs, the small-tablet market took off, with offerings from the likes of Amazon and Google proving a big hit with consumers. Wanting a piece of the pie, Apple launched the 7.9-inch iPad Mini last year. Without sandpaper.
[Source: GeekWire]

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