Paul Allen: Microsoft Playing Catch-up on Mobile Technology

Paul Allen
Paul Allen

Microsoft executives are "working as hard as they can to catch up" to Google and Apple on mobility technology, co-founder Paul Allen told CNBC Tuesday.

"Mobility is one of the key new platforms," he said. "These new platforms don’t come down the pike very often." Microsoft had an early lead in smartphone technology but has been eclipsed by Apple's Tablet and Google's Android, Allen said.

"You have to give a lot of kudos" to Apple founder Steve Jobs for his innovation, he said, "and you have a fast follower in Google. To surpass these other platforms you have to have something as good, and better and more exciting for whatever generation you are targeting the platform to."

Allen, whose memoirs were released Tuesday, said he still has some bitterness for co-founder Bill Gates, who wanted to dilute Allen's ownership stake in the company.

"I didn’t think that was appropriate," Allen said. "At the time that was a very surprising and disheartening thing for me. But after a few years I moved on from that."

He said CEO Steve Ballmer's style has to be more focused on business applications than on the consumer, but Allen believes a greater focus on the consumer side is needed. He added that Ballmer is "making moves to become more agile in those areas."

Allen also called Twitter, Facebook, and social networking "part of us being human. We want to have those connections. It is great to see that as a platform. The challenge is how to monetize all the people using that."