In 2016, Microsoft doesn’t carry quite the same cachet that it did a decade ago. Although Windows 10 has been widely praised as a step in the right direction, the company has never been able to garner the same good will that Apple has been swimming in for nearly a decade now. So who’s to blame?

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Well, here’s the easy answer: Bill Gates.

Clearly the former CEO can’t be held accountable for everything that has gone wrong at Microsoft since the company’s inception. Nor can he be celebrated for every success. But a group of former Microsoft employees have come together to answer a recent Quora post which posed a very interesting question: “What were Bill Gates’s worst decisions as CEO?”

Here’s what Microsoft’s former SVP Brad Silverberg said about Gates’ worst decision during his time at the head of the company:

“Top of the list for me is that Bill did not engage – either himself or the company – in the political process early enough. When Microsoft’s competitors were effectively lobbying the government, Bill’s attitude was the government should just go away and leave Microsoft alone.”

Hamid Shojaee, another former employee, believed that the worst decision Gates ever made was to appoint Steve Ballmer as CEO:

“Essentially, during Steve’s tenure at Microsoft, virtually nothing new was made while all the existing stuff (Windows, IE, WinMobile, Exchange, Office, etc.) continued to become bloated to the point where an opening was made for a competitor to disrupt each of those categories.”

Although Dave Whetstone, a self-described mobile and social innovator, puts more of the blame on Ballmer, he says that Microsoft never found the right way to approach mobile, allowing Android and Apple to dominate the field:

“It’s hard not to point to Bill and Steve’s repeated failures in mobile, caused by trying to repeat their approach in PCs in mobile. They never gained much traction in spite of many $billions spent. They never found effective ways of leveraging their dominance on the desktop to an advantage in mobile.”

Microsoft is anything but a failure, but it’s still fascinating to read about how the company has failed to live up to the high expectations it set for itself when it took over the PC industry all those years ago.

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