Steve Ballmer himself, CEO of Microsoft, has yesterday sent an E-Mail to all Microsoft employees where he announced executive changes, immediately affecting the Windows Phone division. According to the E-Mail which Microsoft published, Ballmer claims that Microsoft is "driving toward the end of the year with a lot of momentum and buzz, especially in the consumer arena. (... and ...) 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 Ballmer said he looked at where Microsoft is, what it has done, what it must do in the year ahead and therefore he decided to make two leadership changes to ensure Microsoft continues to build on its momentum:
- First, Andy Lees was asked to move to a new role working for Ballmer himself on a time-critical opportunity focused on driving maximum impact in 2012 with Windows Phone and Windows 8. Ballmer believes that Microsoft has tremendous potential with Windows Phone and Windows 8 and this move sets Microsoft up to really deliver against that potential.
- Second, as Lees takes on these new challenges for the company, Terry Myerson will assume Lees' existing responsibilities for leading the Windows Phone Division. According to Ballmer, Myerson played a key and highly successful role working with Lees' by leading the engineering work on Windows Phone 7 and 7.5. Myerson will now be responsible for Windows Phone development, marketing and other business functions.
Both these changes take place immediately.
That's indeed an interesting change and doesn't look like Lees was pink-slipped or anything worse but it seems he was empowered to do something new and different with "Windows Phone 8" and Windows 8. It's rumored for some time now, that future versions of Windows Phone might run on top of a Windows 8 kernel. On the other hand, Lees might also be needed to to establish a healthy and successful eco-system around Windows 8 because the next desktop version of Windows will look and feel pretty much like Windows Phone and will also feature a Marketplace, something new for Windows but not anything new for Windows Phone anymore. Therefore Ballmer might want to benefit from Lees experience in this space.
Cheers ~ Arne