updated 01:45 pm EDT, Mon August 8, 2011
Windows Phone GM Charlie Kindel quits
Microsoft's mobile ambitions took a hit Monday as its Windows Phone group's General Manager revealed he was leaving the company. The 21-year veteran will quit as of September 2 to found a startup focused on a mix of ads, the cloud, mobile, and athletics. He told GeekWire that he had already moved his Windows Phone tasks off to mobile general manager Matt Bencke.
The shift came after he had already been reevaluating where he would go next and got an opportunity to help manage the startup soon after. He didn't say what it would involve as it was still in "stealth" mode while getting ready for its unveiling, but he hinted that any mobile apps would be for WP7 first before tackling Android and iOS.
Kindel stressed that the departure was amicable and that he was very confident the Windows Phone team would do well. In a goodbye e-mail, he thought that Windows Phone was a source of pride for the company, although he hinted he would no longer be tied to the Windows ecosystem.
"To the Windows Phone team: I may stop using some Microsoft products now that I'm out of here," he said. "But not Windows Phone. The BEST product Microsoft has ever built. Do not let up!"
Microsoft's short-term future for WP7 will largely be unaffected by Kindel's exit with Mango finished and the release waiting mostly on devices. The soon to be former executive is confident the group is in "fantastic hands" but will still see it face a change in leadership at a vital point.
Although WP7's share has been stabilizing, it has still been losing ground year-over-year as sales haven't been enough to offset those defecting from Windows Mobile to Android or the iPhone. Most of the blame has been put on the from-scratch remake missing a few key features as well as poor exposure in stores, where staff often actively steer customers away from Windows Phones similar to how electronics shops once steered customers away from Macs.