Microsoft's Windows Phone team has a new general manager, an executive from Samsung. Microsoft and Samsung are collaborating tightly on Windows Phone.
When Samsung pledged to collaborate with Microsoft over the
development and marketing of Windows Phone, it probably didn't think that
partnership would extend to Microsoft snagging its
But that seems to be the case, with the blog Boy
Genius Report posting Nov. 7 that Gavin Kim, formerly Samsung's vice
president of consumer and enterprise services, is now Microsoft's general
manager of the Windows Phone team. For the moment, Kim's LinkedIn page still lists
Samsung as his primary employer.
"I will be responsible to help set the future direction for
the Windows Phone platform and to accelerate Microsoft's trajectory to win the hearts
and minds of consumers, carriers, device manufacturers, developers and
partners," Kim told BGR. "In my experience, there is an already fervent base of
Windows Phone supporters out there and they all get it."
Kim joins Windows Phone just as Microsoft begins a concerted
push for the platform, which in the year since its initial release has
attracted some strong reviews but middling market share.
Samsung, Nokia and other manufacturers are prepping the rollout of Windows
Phones devices loaded with "Mango," a wide-ranging update that tweaks the
platform in hundreds of little (and big) ways.
While Windows Phone started out as a line of higher-end
devices, Microsoft seems determined to penetrate further into the midmarket.
"We are dramatically broadening the set of price points in Mango-related phones
that we can reach," Andy Lees, president of Microsoft's Windows Phone division,
told the audience during the Asia D conference Oct. 19. "That's particularly
important because going lower down in price point opens up more addressable
Microsoft has loosened its minimum
hardware requirements for the platform, with its hardware specifications
now listing "primary camera" and "front-facing camera" under "optional
hardware." The rest of the "standard hardware" remains much the same, including
three hardware buttons (start, search and back) and an accelerometer. Those
specifications were last updated Sept. 23.
Loosened specs could allow manufacturers to produce
lower-cost handsets. Nokia has already started down that road with the Lumia
710, which includes a 1.4GHz processor and 5-megapixel camera.
Windows Phone's market share currently lags that of Google
Android and Apple iOS. However, some analysts-including those from research
firms IDC and Canaccord Genuity-have suggested that Microsoft could eventually
seize a much larger portion of smartphone users within the next few years,
provided its partnerships play out to their full potential.
That is the landscape confronting Kim as he enters his new
Nicholas Kolakowski on Twitter
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.