updated 04:20 pm EST, Wed December 14, 2011
Tips have Lees demoted for poor WP7 performance
Microsoft's decision to move Andy Lees to a new position was his punishment for Windows Phone 7's failure in the market, leaked details may have uncovered. The vague role he was given of creating "maximum impact" for WP7 and Windows 8 was described by The Verge's source as a sign that "he's been benched." Lees' public portrayal of how soon Windows Phone would get share versus real results was reportedly causing angst within the company.
The attitude may have also been the culmination of a number of problems after partly antagonizing a number of hardware partners. The Kin series may have been the chief example of this, as Lees supposedly rejected any help from Motorola on the software and ultimately spurred Motorola to eventually become an all-Android shop that today sells more smartphones the whole Windows Phone platform combined. A widely circulated leak pointed to Lees insisting on Windows CE code, rejecting work done by the former Danger team that delayed the phone, cost it a Verizon discount, and killed the devices after six weeks.
Lees might also have hurt the partnership with LG, which resulted in the Optimus 7 in 2010 but hasn't led to anything more than a special edition fashion phone this year. The November 2008 LG pact for Windows Mobile reportedly antagonized HTC, which too ended up leaning much more on Android. LG's deal with Microsoft is often considered representative of how many companies made assumptions that Microsoft's success on the desktop would automatically translate to mobile, only to watch the iPhone and later Android take Microsoft almost out of contention.
Microsoft might benefit from the shift, according to the tips. The new Windows Phone head, Terry Myerson, is believed to be "well-liked." Although an engineer more than an executive, this might work to his favor as the upcoming Tango update focuses primarily on hardware support to reach more areas.
Lees may have significant work to do if apparent clues of unification efforts in Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 are correct. However, the shift is characterized as reducing damage and might see him either take a new role or quit shortly after Windows 8 is finished.