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Microsoft executive blames cybercrime for delayed mobile strategy

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Microsoft Surface stock 1200
Microsoft Surface stock 1200

With over 100 million iPads sold, the one thing everyone can agree on about Surface is that Microsoft has a lot of ground to make up in the tablet and mobile market. That's not entirely the company's fault, however, argues one executive in an interview with the Spiegel. According to Craig Mundie, Microsoft's chief research and strategy officer, the company's huge volume in desktop computing made it "basically the only target" for hackers and cybercriminals, and the time spent fighting these off delayed an entry into the mobile space.

"My response is that we had a music player before the iPod. We had a touch device before the iPad. And we were leading in the mobile phone space. So, it wasn't for a lack of vision or technological foresight that we lost our leadership position. The problem was that we just didn't give enough reinforcement to those products at the time that we were leading. Unfortunately, the company had some executional missteps, which occurred right at the time when Apple launched the iPhone. With that, we appeared to drop a generation behind.

During that time, Windows went through a difficult period where we had to shift a huge amount of our focus to security engineering. The criminal activity in cyberspace was growing dramatically ten years ago, and Microsoft was basically the only company that had enough volume for it to be a target."

While Mundie is correct to point out the success of Windows Mobile before the rise of the iPhone and Android, Microsoft's early touch-enabled versions of Windows never took off with consumers, and the company launched its Zune music player some five years after the first iPod.

Mundie goes on to say that devoting a "huge amount" of Microsoft's focus to security engineering was also to blame in some of the complications surrounding the launch of Windows Vista. There's no doubt that the company has faced some turbulence in recent years, but it'll be hoping for a smoother ride from Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.