A billionaire has joined the masses.
Bill Gates, co-founder and former CEO of Microsoft, revealed in a weekend interview with Fox News Sunday that he is a recent convert to the software of a long-time business rival. Not Apple, but Google.
“I happen to use all Windows-based PCs,” Gates told Fox anchor Chris Wallace before making his handset confession. “The phone that I have, I recently did switch to an Android phone,” he continued, noting with a puckish grin that it runs “a lot of Microsoft software.”
Microsoft’s ill-fated foray into the mobile world is the stuff of legend. In addition to its blighted multibillion dollar Nokia acquisition in 2014, the company has phased out support for its unpopular Windows Phone in recent months.
Gates had stepped back from his executives duties long before Microsoft made its mobile missteps under his successor Steve Ballmer. Its new CEO Satya Nadella has shifted the company’s focus to other areas of technology, like cloud computing, virtual voice assistants, and augmented reality.
Gates’s admission places him in the same camp as most consumers. Android is the world’s most popular mobile operating system with more than 80% market share, according to market research firm IDC. The Apple iPhone’s share has fluctuated in the teens for the past several quarters, while Microsoft’s penetration is sub-1%.
OnMSFT, the Microsoft-centric blog that first called attention to Gate’s testimonial, noted that Microsoft partnered with Samsung earlier this year on a customized phone in the U.S., the Samsung Galaxy S8 Microsoft Edition, which comes with a suite of Microsoft software, like Office, LinkedIn, and its voice assistant Cortana. The Microsoft connection leads some, like The Verge, to speculate this might be the model favored by Gates.
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“So, no iPhone?” Fox anchor Chris Wallace asked.
“No, no iPhone,” Gates replied.
Watch the clip below.
Gates also touched on his relationship with the late Apple cofounder Steve Jobs during the interview. He heaped some praise on his arch-frenemy, calling him a “genius, absolutely amazing.”