Why Microsoft Was Late to Tablets and Smartphones -- Tech Roundup

Microsoft (MSFT) got a late start to the tablets and smartphone business, two segments that have propelled Apple (AAPL) to the top of the tech food chain after many years of dominating both categories. 

Microsoft introduced the Surface tablet in 2012, but it didn't sell well and the company ultimately took a $900 million write down as a result. The business has since rebounded and is now doing much better. 

However, the company's former CEO Steve Ballmer -- who has since retired and purchased the Los Angeles Clippers -- reflected on those times and wish he had gotten involved earlier. 

Ballmer also led the charge on Microsoft's purchase of Nokia's handset business, but by the time that deal was completed, he had already resigned from the company. That didn't pan out too well either. 

It wasn't easy getting everyone on board with the mobile-hardware idea. Ballmer said some of the board was hesitant to enter the mobile hardware arena, and among them, Bill Gates in particular. 

Unfortunately for the duo, Ballmer says their friendship took a hit as a result of how they felt on entering these businesses. Hindsight is 20/20 though and luckily for Microsoft, it didn't go the way of BlackBerry (BBRY) or countless other tech companies. 

Under current CEO Satya Nadella, the stock has performed pretty well, trading just a few dollars per share below its 52-week high. 

Shares of Microsoft closed at $58.71 Friday, down 0.8%. 

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