Bill Gates Ditches Windows Phone For Android, Has No Love For iPhones

Let the record show that Bill Gates, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft who forever altered the computing landscape with Windows, has a tremendous amount of respect for the late Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple. He also thinks Apple is doing "good work." Be that as it may, you will not find Gates wielding an iPhone—his mobile device of choice these days is actually an Android handset "with a lot of Microsoft software" installed.

The former Microsoft boss turned full-time philanthropist (through is Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) revealed his phone of choice during an interview with Fox News. Prior to the revelation, it would have been reasonable to assume that Gates was using a Windows Phone, and for a long time he was. However, he recently made the switch to Android, and it is hard to find fault in that decision.

Bill Gates
Source: Flickr (World Economic Forum)

Microsoft has nearly abandoned the Windows Phone platform, even though it insists Windows Phone is still on its roadmap. Just a few months, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella reaffirmed plans to continue making Windows Phone hardware, though it hopes to shake things up the way its Surface products have done.

"What we've done with Surface is a good example. No-one before us had thought of 2-in-1s, and we created that category, and made it a successful category, to the point where there are more 2-in-1s coming, and that's what we want to do. So, in a sense, when you say 'Will we make more phones?', I'm sure we will make more phones, but they will not look like phones that are there today," Nadella said.

In the meantime, nearly every handset on the planet now runs either Android or iOS, in that order. Windows Phone represents a mere 0.1 percent of the global market—barely a blip on the radar. It is not surprising at all that Gates has jumped ship to Android, especially after Microsoft made a concerted effort to port its apps to competing platforms. Skype, Word, Outlook—they're all available on Android.

More interesting is his choice of an Android handset over an iPhone. Perhaps like many, Gates is not fond of iOS and/or has a philosophical issue with how Apple treats its ecosystem. Or he may prefer the flexibility of Android. It could also be that Gates is keenly aware that owning an iPhone might be somewhat damaging to Microsoft in this era of social media—perception is everything these days.

Whatever the reason, it will be interesting to see if he switches back to Windows Phone, when and if Microsoft makes a major effort in hardware.