Microsoft's Ballmer makes changes in Windows Phone leadership

Microsoft's Ballmer makes changes in Windows Phone leadership

Summary: Microsoft named Terry Myerson head of Windows Phone and is moving former chief Andy Lees to a new role that will involve Windows 8 and Windows Phone in some way in 2012.

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Microsoft is changing Windows Phone chiefs, as first reported by AllThingsD on December 12.

Corporate Vice President Terry Myerson, who led engineering efforts for the phone unit, is moving to head Windows Phone. Myerson won't get the "President" title right away (but could at some point).

Current Windows Phone division President Andy Lees is being moved to a new role, reporting directly to CEO Steve Ballmer, according to an email from Ballmer. Lees' new job will be focused on something having to do with Windows Phone and Windows 8 in 2012. All of Lees' direct reports are moving to Myerson.

Microsoft veteran Lees has been the head of Microsoft's mobile unit since 2008, when Pieter Knook left. Lees was named one of Microsoft's Presidents in October 2010.

Microsoft is believed to be swapping out the Windows Embedded Compact core in Windows Phone for a Windows-based (MinWin) one in order to more closely align the two platforms, and to give developers a single, unified platform to which they can code. That change could happen as early as mid- to fall-2012 when Microsoft is expected to launch Windows Phone 8, which will run an operating system codenamed "Apollo."

Here's Ballmer's December 12 e-mail to the troops on the change:

To: All Microsoft Employees

From: Steve Ballmer Subj: Leadership Next Steps – Windows Phone Sent: Monday, December 12, 2011

We are driving toward the end of the year with a lot of momentum and buzz, especially in the consumer arena. The new Xbox dashboard is being well received, Kinect and Xbox consoles set a record for Black Friday weekend sales, the Windows Store news from last week delighted developers and partners, Windows Phone 7.5 continues to win reviews, and the Nokia Lumia series has grabbed a ton of attention in Europe, creating anticipation for availability in other geographies next year.

As I look at where we are, what we’ve done, and what we must do in the year ahead, I’m making two leadership changes to ensure we build on our momentum. First, I have asked Andy Lees to move to a new role working for me on a time-critical opportunity focused on driving maximum impact in 2012 with Windows Phone and Windows 8. We have tremendous potential with Windows Phone and Windows 8, and this move sets us up to really deliver against that potential.

Second, as Andy takes on these new challenges for the company, Terry Myerson will assume Andy’s existing responsibilities for leading the Windows Phone Division. As many of you know, Terry played a key and highly successful role working with Andy by leading the engineering work on Windows Phone 7 and 7.5. Terry will now be responsible for Windows Phone development, marketing, and other business functions. Because Terry has been so integrally involved in our Windows Phone work already, I’m confident that he can make a seamless transition to this new and broader leadership responsibility.

Both these changes take place immediately.

I want to personally thank Andy for his contributions to the phone team. In the three years Andy has been leading the phone group, we’ve come a long way – we reset our strategy, built a strong team that delivered WP7 and WP7.5 and created critical new partnerships and ecosystem around Windows Phone. That is a ton of progress in a brief period of time, and I’m excited for Terry and team to keep driving forward and for Andy to dig into a new challenge.

It is amazing to pause and look back at what we’ve accomplished as a company this year, from our incredible product momentum to the formation of several powerful partnerships and the overall strength of our leadership team. And you know I’m a look-forward kind of person, so when I look forward to 2012, I see even more opportunity and potential in what we have planned.

Steve

Windows Phone has lost marketshare this year, in spite of the launch of a number of new handsets and a solid "Mango" release. Like a number of my readers, I'm wondering how much of an impact in the U.S. Nokia will have -- and when. I also wonder when Microsoft will be adding more Windows Phone features that enterprise users are requesting.

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

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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22 comments
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  • I expect Nokia Windows Phones will sell well in the U.S.

    [i]Windows Phone has lost marketshare this year, in spite of the launch of a number of new handsets and a solid ???Mango??? release. Like a number of my readers, I???m wondering how much of an impact in the U.S. Nokia will have ??? and when.[/i]

    I believe Nokia's performance matters more than other manufacturers' performance in the Windows Phone ecosystem. Nokia and MS appear to be addressing the sales channel problem with Windows Phones, by ensuring they can influence the channel in their favor. Nokia is negotiating deals in which it is able to define Nokia experiences in stores, and have sales staff push its phones - through incentives. That is why Nokia phones are selling well in Europe. If Nokia can do the same thing here, Nokia phones should be able to sell well in the U.S. also.
    P. Douglas
    • Say what?

      @P. Douglas ... "Nokia and MS appear to be addressing the sales channel problem with Windows Phones, by ensuring they can influence the channel in their favor. "

      What does that even mean?

      Remember Zune? They stuffed the channel, sent out press releases, and they wound up near-free in the bargain bins at Best Buy.
      HollywoodDog
      • RE: Microsoft's Ballmer makes changes in Windows Phone leadership

        @HollywoodDog apples and oranges. MSFT made/sold the zune and had no prior experience do this (WM was handled by OEMs) so it was new territory. Nokia knows how to sell handsets and has the relationships in place.
        goombawa
  • RE: Microsoft's Ballmer makes changes in Windows Phone leadership

    how has windows phone lost marketshare? they had zero, now they have about 1- 2% in a year. it is impossible for them to have lost share. windows mobile on the other hand is losing share but that's not windows phone at all.
    neonspark
    • WP7 lost share .... because they are counting the market share WinMo owned

      @neonspark ... before WP7 came out. The market share is not for the WP7 only. The 1.5% market share is for ALL of MS mobile products, including past versions.

      It lost over 50% (used to be 3+%) since WP7 came out over a year ago.
      wackoae
      • RE: Microsoft's Ballmer makes changes in Windows Phone leadership

        @wackoae do you even understand english? I think you should go back to grade 2.
        jk_10
  • Leadership? Too little, too late, if any.

    We are an IT services company and a Microsoft Partner. I, personally, have been using Windows Mobile on my phone since WM5 (6 years?) and it is the current company standard. We are about to upgrade all our phones and the reality is that we are unlikely to choose Windows Mobile this time. The WM phones available to us here are under-spec'd and do not compare favourably with the Android phones we can get. Since none of our purchased or in-house developed software will work on the new version of WM, there's no financial benefit in remaining with that platform. With the slower processors, inability to use removable media, smaller screens, lower resolution cameras and, importantly, lack of available software, we don't believe that our loyalty to Microsoft should take precedence over our need for function. We tried talking to Microsoft about this more than 12 months ago and got nowhere, obviously. If Microsoft wants to get market share, especially in the enterprise, they need to start by putting their software into better phones and then get people such as us on-side, not off-side.

    I think MS has lost its business accumen somewhere along the way.
    sub_techrep
    • RE: Microsoft's Ballmer makes changes in Windows Phone leadership

      @sub_techrep@...
      The organization I work for won't even consider Android because of the open source nature of the software. They will be transitioning to Windows 8 phones/tablets when they become available.
      kstap
      • RE: Microsoft's Ballmer makes changes in Windows Phone leadership

        @kris_stapley@...

        Hi,

        I'm curious about your comment. I can see reasons for going with Windows Phone version whatever in the enterprise if you are a Microsoft shop (I'm irritated that I can't join our Windows Domain where I work with my Android tablet for instance), but what about "the open source nature of Android" makes it unsuitable?

        Regards,

        Hans
        Looks Confused
    • RE: Microsoft's Ballmer makes changes in Windows Phone leadership

      @sub_techrep@... I agree, win phones hardware sucks forever, compared to competition... how one can imagine video recording with NO zoom capability? I bought a win6.5 LG and after I discovered it wouldn't let me adjust keylight duration! and it is a hardware limitation, tweaking registry does not solve at all... not mentioning those old style menus
      mescwb
      • RE: Microsoft's Ballmer makes changes in Windows Phone leadership

        @mescwb WinMobile6.5 is so dead! Try the new WinPhone 7.5. I did, several days ago and love it!
        petin_y
    • RE: Microsoft's Ballmer makes changes in Windows Phone leadership

      @sub_techrep@... I don't blame you. WM does not compare to the modern Windows Phone 7.5, iOS, and Android!
      petin_y
  • RE: Microsoft's Ballmer makes changes in Windows Phone leadership

    Remember that, this Andy Lees is somehow mentioned as the one who killed KIN phone as a part of corporate inside war.
    amir.mohtasebi
  • RE: Microsoft's Ballmer makes changes in Windows Phone leadership

    Wp7 is the biggest fail ever.

    Even Samsung Bada Outsells wp7

    For 3 years ago Microsoft had about 7 % market share
    Sultansulan
    • RE: Microsoft's Ballmer makes changes in Windows Phone leadership

      @Sultansulan again with the same statement each time. Don't you think that you are coming across as less than someone with a balanced view?
      AS147
      • RE: Microsoft's Ballmer makes changes in Windows Phone leadership

        @AS147 Sultansulan is one of the many online personas of a well known Microsoft and Windows Phone hater. One of the many personas, because they get banned over and over on other blogs and services. Perhaps he used to care about how he came across. He's a bit like Smeagol and Gollem. Sad really..
        Forrestall
    • RE: Microsoft's Ballmer makes changes in Windows Phone leadership

      @Sultansulan
      Might be a sales failure so far, but the OS is far and away the most stable and easy to use of the bunch, and is a win from a technological standpoint.
      kstap
      • RE: Microsoft's Ballmer makes changes in Windows Phone leadership

        @kris_stapley@... <br>So was WebOS and a lot of good that did HP.<br><br>The 'best' (a relative term here) doesn't always mean it wins out.
        ScorpioBlue
  • RE: Microsoft's Ballmer makes changes in Windows Phone leadership

    Mary Jo, help me out here will you please. When you state "Windows Phone lost share" I wonder whether this includes Windows Mobile. I can't see how Windows Phone lost share as it started from zero. Or are you saying the market is growing faster than Windows Phone is? If so then say so as the statement is misleading.
    AS147
  • Where's Loverock????

    Once again his prediction of WP7 taking over the world has FAILED...

    Here is why you fail Microsoft:

    http://fewrandomrantings.wordpress.com/2011/12/08/what-happens-when-ceo-lacks-vision-steve-ballmer-laughs-at-iphone/
    ZombieSteveJobs