Microsoft executive Charlie Kindel, who helped develop Windows Phone, is leaving the company.
Microsoft executive Charlie Kindel is leaving the company
after 21 years. As general manager for Windows Phone's developer
ecosystem, he played a key role in the development of Windows Phone,
represents Microsoft's best hope for re-establishing a presence in the
ultra-competitive smartphone market.
Kindel's apparently heading to a startup, although an Aug. 8
posting on his personal blog was light on details. "I'm not ready to disclose
details about the new venture but I can say I will be staying in the Seattle
area to build it," he wrote. "It has to do with sports, advertising, mobile,
social-networking, and, of course, the cloud."
In an email to friends and colleagues, also reprinted in
that posting, he added that Windows Phone is "the BEST product that Microsoft
has ever built."
Windows Phone has attracted some strong reviews from the
tech community, but its marketplace viability remains somewhat in doubt.
Research firm comScore is estimating Microsoft's smartphone market share
declined from 7.5 percent to 5.8 percent for the three-month period ending in
June. That included both Windows Phone and the company's more antiquated
Windows Mobile platform, which is being phased out.
Microsoft hasn't yet offered sales figures for Windows
Phone, but outside estimates aren't rosy. Recently, the Seattle
guessed Microsoft's possible revenue from Windows Phone
at less than $613 million. That figure came from subtracting Xbox 360-related
revenue-some $8.103 billion-from that of its overall Entertainment and Devices
Division, leaving $613 million split between Windows Phone and a variety of
much smaller projects such as Zune and Surface.
Microsoft hopes its upcoming
, due to final release sometime this fall, will spur greater
consumer adoption. Samsung, HTC, LG Electronics and Nokia have all committed to
building new Windows Phone devices preloaded with Mango, along with Acer and
ZTE. Some 500 new elements to the update include expanded functionality for the
Xbox Live and Office hubs, new multitasking abilities and Bing deeply baked
into the user interface.
Whether consumers gravitate to Mango, though, Windows
Phone faces substantial competition in the months ahead from Apple's iPhone and
the growing ranks of Google Android devices. Apple is widely expected to
release its next-generation "iPhone 5" in either September or October.
Microsoft is also betting that its recent partnership with
Nokia, wherein the Finnish phone maker
agreed to adopt Windows Phone as its mobile software platform going forward,
will also reap market-share dividends. However, competitive pressures and
abandonment of its homegrown Symbian OS has led to Nokia bleeding market share at a startling rate. And no matter what its
share, Nokia remains unlikely to help Microsoft much in the U.S. smartphone
market, where it retains a negligible presence.
Kindel will leave Microsoft Sept. 2.
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