Microsoft's Charlie Kindel bids farewell after 21 years

Microsoft's Charlie Kindel bids farewell after 21 years

Summary: After more than two decades at Microsoft, including a two-year stint in charge of the Windows Phone developer platform, Charlie Kindel leaves the company.

SHARE:

After 21 years, Charlie Kindel is leaving Microsoft.

If you don’t recognize the name, you certainly should be familiar with some of the products he’s worked on. There was Internet Explorer 3.0, in 1996, and the ActiveX technologies that became a security headache for Microsoft years later. Kindel worked on the home networking features in Windows XP, and then founded Microsoft’s eHome division and shipped the first version of Windows Media Center nearly a decade ago. He was the driving force behind Windows Home Server, turning a “skunk works” project into a cult classic.

For the past two years, Kindel has been in charge of the design and development of the Windows Phone 7 Application Platform and one of its most forceful advocates. In a July 2010 interview, he acknowledged how far behind Microsoft had fallen in the mobile space:

“Windows Phone is not an end game. It’s more of a means,” said Kindel. … “The installed market is not very big, so we have to show [developers] how much we’re investing to create a phenomenal user experience. We have to show marketing and engineering seriousness.”

That initial effort seems to have paid off, with more than 27,000 apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace today.

Microsoft watchers noted that Kindel had taken a dramatically reduced role on Windows Phone matters in recent months. In an interview with GeekWire earlier today, Kindel told Todd Bishop he had “stepped away from day to day Windows Phone work earlier this year.” He leaves Microsoft to work on a stealth startup. In a post on his personal blog, Kindel teased that the new venture “has to do with sports, advertising, mobile, social-networking, and, of course, the cloud.”

It’s an easy temptation to pin a ready-made narrative on the departure of someone who has essentially been a Microsoft lifer. One of those narratives is that a high-level exec is bailing on a floundering mobile platform. In his farewell letter, Kindel tried to tackle that one directly:

To the Windows Phone team: I may stop using some Microsoft products now that I’m out of here. But not Windows Phone. The BEST product Microsoft has ever built. Do not let up!

Kindel’s blog post announcing his departure was overwhelmed with traffic this morning, and the server crashed almost immediately. This time, at least, the culprit wasn’t a Microsoft product but a WordPress installation running on, of all things, a Linux server.

A lot has changed in 21 years.

Topics: Operating Systems, Microsoft, Mobility, Software, Windows

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

21 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: Microsoft's Charlie Kindel bids farewell after 21 years

    21 years is quite a long journey. Wish Kindel a good journey forward.
    sam0403
  • RE: Microsoft's Charlie Kindel bids farewell after 21 years

    With such an incredible resume' of achievements, I sure hope he doesn't hold any grudges leaving Microsoft. That's like three lifetimes of incredible work for most people.
    TechNickle
  • RE: Microsoft's Charlie Kindel bids farewell after 21 years

    Apple stole from both Android and Windows phone 7 for Iphone 5 but when all is said and done wp7 will be a God awesome OS when mango drops. Even the the tech bloggers who have Iphone5 beta is saying they are finding it hard to go back to Iphone wp7 has surpassed both in beauty and functionality with Mango cause everything is integrated into the phone. wp7 Mango is super awesome.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DP9HlGB7Sy8&feature=relmfu

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmB87qdwVWc&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMd7Eb-QikA&feature=relmfu
    bxbbrian
  • Message has been deleted.

    Vbitrate
    • Message has been deleted.

      adacosta38
      • Message has been deleted.

        rikasa
    • Message has been deleted.

      William Farrell
      • Message has been deleted.

        ScorpioBlue
  • RE: Microsoft's Charlie Kindel bids farewell after 21 years

    Gonna miss him for sure. It was for the time that I fall in love with Windows Mobile and its was Windows Phone 7.

    His farewell note to WP team is so touching - "To the Windows Phone team: I may stop using some Microsoft products now that I?m out of here. But not Windows Phone. The BEST product Microsoft has ever built. Do not let up!"

    I too believe in his words. Metro UI is a phoenix version of Windows Phone and anyone can fall in love with WP7 on the first use. If MSFT has to do something in mobile market, then - The Time Is Now...!!!

    Never Quit and Good Luck!
    abhilashca
  • RE: Microsoft's Charlie Kindel bids farewell after 21 years

    A few months ago Charlie Kindel was on Behind the Code. Interesting guy. You can watch it here:

    http://channel9.msdn.com/Shows/Behind+The+Code/Behind-the-Code-Charlie-Kindel-Doing-What-It-Takes-To-Make-A-Customer-Successful

    I hope to be reading about how successful his startup is soon.
    Rich Miles
  • RE: Microsoft's Charlie Kindel bids farewell after 21 years

    Bad News for Windows Phone project... But he succeded to move developers to WP7 platform. Soon 30000 apps according to http://www.windowsphoneapplist.com/
    Jeremde
  • RE: Microsoft's Charlie Kindel bids farewell after 21 years

    21 years Microsoft was able to be thankful to him. Hope he does well in the future.
    LoverockDavidson
  • RE: Microsoft's Charlie Kindel bids farewell after 21 years

    For a mobile platform whose market share over last 5 years has fallen from mid teens to almost 1% its amazing how still people belive that its best product from MSFT . My goodness if WP7 is the best product from MSFT then god help MSFT .
    ghatotand
    • ignorance never pays off

      @ghatotand

      You are ignorant. Windows MOBILE was not a good product towards the end because its foundation came from its initial release which was 11 years ago (waaaaaaaaay before Apple). Windows PHONE 7 on the other hand makes the best of todays technology and puts Android to shame (even with its current limited features) and gives iOS a run for its money. Mango and Win8 will drastically change the "numbers" game you play.

      Kindel has been a part of creating an amazing product (WP7) and it has become the foundation of the future for Microsoft.
      spaulagain2
    • RE: Microsoft's Charlie Kindel bids farewell after 21 years

      @ghatotand <br><br>Think about the relationship - or lack of relationship - between "best selling" and "best." There are a number of things that make products sell well without necessarily making them better than something that sells less well - for example, cost, availability, and in the case of phones, contracts and carrier restrictions.<br><br>You probably think a Lexus is a better car than a Toyota, while knowing that Toyota's sales volume is far greater.<br><br>Give Phone 7 a chance to get going, and I think you'll be surprised. And consider the user feedback, which is universally favorable. Everyone who owns a Phone 7 loves it, and that's going to translate into sales.
      1DaveN
      • RE: Microsoft's Charlie Kindel bids farewell after 21 years

        @DaveN_MVP

        Er....Lexus and Toyota are the same products made by the same company.

        And, I don't doubt that those who foolishly bought a Phone 7 love it. The true verdict is the number of users who haven't bought it. Phone 7 is a failure and what's worse, it is a downgrade from WM 6.5 in usability. What did Ballmer say - Ms's market share was small and it's still small?
        gjhuff@...
      • RE: Microsoft's Charlie Kindel bids farewell after 21 years

        @gjhuff@... <br><br>Are you smoking crack? WP7 has FARRRR better usability than WM6.5. Have you ever even used a WP7? WP7's UI is just as good and in some ways better than iPhone. The live tiles and presentation of information without even opening Apps makes it even more usable than an iPhone.<br><br>If I need to find out where a meeting is at work, I press the unlock button which shows the lock screen. Without even unlocking the phone (via screen swipe) I can see what my next meeting is, where it is, and when it is. My co-workers with an iPhone have to unlock their phone and open their calendar app. Oh ya, and their iPhone Outlook calendar functionality is pathetic compared to mine.<br><br>WP7 has great customer satisfaction and is on par (if not better than) iPhones satisfaction numbers. With the Mango update the "missing features" will no longer be a factor.<br><br>You sir, need to lay off the Kool Aid its making you look like an idiot.
        spaulagain2
    • OK. So using your logic

      @ghatotand
      OS X sucks at 8% of the market.

      If thats the best product from AAPL then god help AAPL
      William Farrell
    • respones to gjhuff@...

      response below
      spaulagain2
  • RE: Microsoft's Charlie Kindel bids farewell after 21 years

    I first encountered Charlie's work when I was learning DCOM (nee COM 3.0). If I end up with a smartphone some day, it will run Windows 7 because of Charlie's development environment. He will be missed by many, including me.

    --rj
    Roger_Jennings