Convincing Microsoft’s board on Nokia acquisition was the toughest part says Steve Ballmer

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Addressing audience at the Oxford University, Steve Ballmer, former Microsoft CEO, admitted that during his 14 years of spell in Microsoft, if he could have a do-over of the last 10 years, Windows Phone would have been in a much stronger position today.

“In the last ten years, there are things that didn’t go so well. We would have had a strong position in the phone market if we could redo the past ten years”, Ballmer said.

He added: “The thing I regret is we didn’t put the hardware and software together soon enough… if you really want to bring a vision to market it is helpful to be able to conceive and deliver the hardware and software.”

Weeks after stepping down as Microsoft CEO and handing over the company’s reins to Satya Nadella, Ballmer said convincing the board to buy Nokia was one of the hardest decisions he ever made at Microsoft.

He said Nokia acquisition was one of the toughest decisions to make as it was a major change to a software company’s business.

Ballmer said “It’s important because the name of the company is Microsoft”.

“It was a fundamental part of the founding principles: we were a software company. And yet: Xbox, Surface and now the phone, and we have a profile that will end up being mixed in the future. That’s a pretty fundamental change.”

Taking responsibilities for the mistakes the company made during his tenure as Bill Gates’ successor, Ballmer said Microsoft is “like a child” to him and that “If there’s something I don’t like about Microsoft, I should have changed it. I could have changed it… we’ve made mistakes, but fix the mistakes.”

“We’re there working hard to make sure that the next wave, we’re there,” he added.