Do you think Microsoft jumped on to the mobile bandwagon a little too late? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. Bill Gates himself accepts that the software giant did not grab the opportunity to get the mobile market right when it had the time.

In an interview with CBS This Morning, Gates who stepped down from the day to day running of the company nearly five years ago, accepted that Microsoft did not “get out in the lead very early” when it came to cellphones. “We didn't miss cell phones, but the way that we went about it didn't allow us to get the leadership,” he rued. Gates said that the strategy was “clearly a mistake”.

It’s not a secret that Gates is fond of the newer Microsoft innovations like the Surface, Bing and Windows 8 and he minced no words praising the company’s efforts put into making these products. Gates was a part of a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” last week, and when someone asked about whether he preferred Windows 7 or Windows 8, he announced tongue-in-cheek, “Higher is better.

Humble Bill Gates is humble

Humble Bill Gates is humble

He even confirmed that he indeed used Bing and not Google. “Seriously Bing is the better product at this point. Try the challenge. I am biased but the work to make Bing better has been amazing,” he replied candidly during the AMA.

When quizzed about whether he was happy with Chief Executive Steve Ballmer’s performance at CBS, Gates said, “Well, he and I are two of the most self-critical people — you can imagine. And here were a lot of amazing things that Steve's leadership got done with the company in the last year. Windows 8 is key to the future, the Surface computer. Bing, people are seeing as a better search product, Xbox.

But, is he completely satisfied with the progress Microsoft has made? No, Gates reiterates, Ballmer and he are not satisfied in terms of “breakthrough things”. And that they’re doing everything that is possible to reach the glorious heights they were once on top of.

Earlier this month, a job listing put out for a Software Development Engineer in Test by Microsoft showed that the company was keen on unifying its Windows and Windows Phone platforms by developing apps equally for both the platforms. “Are you excited about Windows Phone? Are you passionate about delivering the best possible experience to the developer community? Do you wish the code you write for Windows Store apps would just work on the Windows Phone and vice versa? If so, then this is the role for you!” reads the listing.

Microsoft is setting the stage with prompting developers to take over. Officials claim that a considerable amount of code reuse is possible between Windows Phone apps to be moved to Windows 8 or Windows RT and vice versa, although a few developers have contested the claim. They say that a lot more work needs to be put in than expected while making apps shift platforms.

While developers would stand to gain a lot from this flattening down of Windows desktop and mobile platforms, a smooth transition will need to be made since Microsoft has admitted in the past that the developer platforms for Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8/Windows RT are “similar” but not the same. Gates’ dream of having caught up on the mobile platform may not be too far away now.

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