Granted Bill Gates wasn’t forced out of the company that he founded, he took retirement and let Steve Ballmer take over. Ballmer had been with Gates essentially from the start of Microsoft, we’re sure Gates thought it was in good hands.
Right now it appears that Microsoft is struggling with their mobile strategy. They’ve also lost a substantial footing to Apple and if tablets start getting counted in the “computer” category that loss to Apple could be even more significant.
Microsoft tried to take on Apple in the music player department but the Zune never caught on the way the iPod did and it’s now been taken off the market.
More after the break
On the mobile side, Microsoft was hoping for a resurgence with Windows Phone 7. They were counting on Windows Phone 7 to bring Microsoft back to at least the days when Windows Mobile was had a decent impact. However that hasn’t been the case.
Depending on what source you look at Microsoft’s mobile OS has between one and three percent of the smartphone OS share. That’s alarming because HTC and Samsung have been producing Windows Phone 7 devices since the start. Nokia has signed a major deal with Mircosoft and their phones are starting to release now as well.
Samsung and HTC’s Windows Phone 7 devices have very similar hardware specs to their Android counter parts which are outselling Windows Phone 7 devices at rates of even 10:1. To add to that, legacy devices used in enterprise are counted in the Microsoft operating system numbers for smartphones and they still can’t crack 5%.
Some analysts have suggested that Microsoft has lost their sex appeal in their OS to the consumer and in enterprise, business users and IT administrators have found that Documents To Go, Quick Office and even Google Docs are viable alternatives for reading, and creating Microsoft Office documents on every other operating system.
Today, Fortune is reporting that a “prominent chief executive” who is close to Bill Gates has said that Gates may be planning a return to the top at Microsoft. Although he doesn’t have the charisma that the late Steve Jobs had, Microsoft may need someone like Gates to boost morale, and get Microsoft back to the top.
This is just a rumor of course… and it could already be too late.