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Ballmer Moves Windows Phone Boss to Windows 8 Project

By - Source: Microsoft | B 19 comments

Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 boss has been assigned to a new role by CEO Steve Ballmer.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer yesterday sent out a cryptic note to staff informing them that Terry Myerson, head of engineering for Redmond's phone unit, will add business development, marketing and other responsibilities to his list of duties. The idea behind the change is to free up Andy Lees to work directly for Steve Ballmer on a special project.

"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," Ballmer said in the email to employees, which has since been published by Microsoft.

"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," said Ballmer, adding "We have tremendous potential with Windows Phone and Windows 8, and this move sets us up to really deliver against that potential."

Ballmer goes on to say that Terry Myerson will assume Lees' existing responsibility for leading the Windows Phone division. Praised as a key component in the engineering work on Windows Phone 7 and 7.5, Ballmer says Terry will pick up Lees' development, marketing, and other business responsibilities and is not expecting any problems during the transition.

"Because Terry has been so integrally involved in our Windows Phone work already, I’m confident that [Terry] can make a seamless transition to this new and broader leadership responsibility," he said.

Though the first half of the email makes it sound as though Andy Lees is being called upon to perform a special task, Ballmer's note to employees makes it sound like Lees won't be returning to the Windows Phone division anytime soon.

"I want to personally thank Andy for his contributions to the phone team," he writes. "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."

Last month, Ballmer sparked rumors about Microsoft's intentions for Windows 8 in terms of smartphones with remarks he made during a recent shareholder meeting. Those listening to the CEO say he mentioned "driving Windows down to the phone with Windows 8," however, Microsoft says that Ballmer was misheard and that he never said Windows 8 was coming to phones. Check out more on that story here.

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  • -5 Hide
    iamtheking123 , December 13, 2011 6:48 PM
    "We have tremendous potential with Windows Phone and Windows 8"

    Ummm...no they don't.
  • -6 Hide
    crinkdude , December 13, 2011 6:57 PM
    i guess windows phone is ok but windows 8 on a pc sucks ass :S
  • -1 Hide
    Northwestern , December 13, 2011 7:46 PM
    crinkdudei guess windows phone is ok but windows 8 on a pc sucks ass :S


    Just an FYI but Windows 8 is only available for PC right now, so why you added "on a pc" is beyond me.

  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , December 13, 2011 8:06 PM
    HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

    Well, get ready all for the massive direction of Windows Phone, now coming to a PC near you!
  • 0 Hide
    SchizoFrog , December 13, 2011 11:00 PM
    I am not surprised by this move as later next year WP7.5 (mango) will get the full WP8 update (Apollo I believe the codename is) So it makes sense to have the guy in charge and behind WP7 run a Windows 8 project and I am sure a lot of that project will be integration or at least feature sharing between W8 and WP8.
  • -1 Hide
    SmileyTPB1 , December 14, 2011 12:26 AM
    It would seem that Microsoft is setting both projects up for failure.

    I know all of you are going to start flagging this comment negative but let's be honest. WP7.5 is what WP7 should have been. (like so many MS projects) All of you WP lovers out there be realistic. Phone manufacturers aren't exactly running to make WP phones and when compared to Android and iOS it is an inferior product.

    I don't see how putting the person in charge of one failed project in charge of another is going to make them both succeed.
  • 3 Hide
    alikum , December 14, 2011 12:31 AM
    SmileyTPB1It would seem that Microsoft is setting both projects up for failure. I know all of you are going to start flagging this comment negative but let's be honest. WP7.5 is what WP7 should have been. (like so many MS projects) All of you WP lovers out there be realistic. Phone manufacturers aren't exactly running to make WP phones and when compared to Android and iOS it is an inferior product.I don't see how putting the person in charge of one failed project in charge of another is going to make them both succeed.

    How is it a failed project when the OS can run around your Android with the latest hardware in circles with the last gen hardware?
  • 1 Hide
    cold fire , December 14, 2011 3:07 AM
    SmileyTPB1It would seem that Microsoft is setting both projects up for failure. I know all of you are going to start flagging this comment negative but let's be honest. WP7.5 is what WP7 should have been. (like so many MS projects) All of you WP lovers out there be realistic. Phone manufacturers aren't exactly running to make WP phones and when compared to Android and iOS it is an inferior product.I don't see how putting the person in charge of one failed project in charge of another is going to make them both succeed.


    You mean like how Android 2.2 was how Android should've been in the first place, or how iOS4 was how iOS should've been?
  • 3 Hide
    darkavenger123 , December 14, 2011 5:13 AM
    SmileyTPB1 is right. I have a feeling Ballmer wants to screw this Andy guy and promotes the Terry guy to take over. The special projects will ends up nought and Andy will be left frustrated and forced to self resign....

    And yes, WP7 is a failure. It amazes me people here can't see pass tech hardware...doesn't matter if WP7 is better than Android (which it is not, only in areas of display smoothnees maybe). You have to look at it as a whole package. Android is still a much better UI (Tiles sucks ballz) and the momentum of the Android market and partners is staggering. WP7 is so insignificant, frankly, nobody cares it's there. This is why it is called a failure. Because it has failed to capture significant market share, failed to capture the continued interest of partners (i think there was very new few WP7 phones left after the initial launch...partners are already losing money on it...). Now left NOKIA to save WP7....which i doubt they can. Too little, too late. If Nokia has launched together with WP7, then the momentunm will be greater.....now it's just too late.
  • 1 Hide
    darkavenger123 , December 14, 2011 5:17 AM
    Oh yeah, forgot to add....Android is just now Windows on the desktop...it is fragmented but also caters to all budgets and categories....Android has become MS, while WP7 tries to be like i0S (with all the strict rules and regulations etc), but yet nowhere near the full control of Apple....it is a failed business model for WP7. They should have exclusive deals with Nokia, make high-end phones in full control or open it up to all segments from low-end to high-end. MS should be itself instead of imitating Apple...and now Google has successfully imitate MS model on the desktop....ironic.
  • 1 Hide
    back_by_demand , December 14, 2011 12:14 PM
    Wether you agree with the "business model" or not, you cannot deny that when Microsoft starts to move in a particular direction they have the financial clout and the patience to see a project succeed. The first Xbox was a new entrant into a market that was dominated by Sony and Nintendo and now it is thriving, sure it had issues with hardware and the RROD but the user base is very loyal and the profits are huge.

    Windows Phone may seem to be operating badly but the OS is top-notch, only the sales are bad, but that is not a problem for customers, it is a problem for Microsoft and financially supporting it until it acheives more market penetration.

    Same will apply to Windows 8, it will have some difficulty replacing Windows 7, because it is so good but if there is one thing that is guaranteed is that closer integration between the phone, the desktop and the console can only be good news for everyone.
  • 1 Hide
    jabliese , December 14, 2011 12:48 PM
    Ballmer is jealous of Siri, and is resurrecting Bob for Windows 8.
  • 0 Hide
    SchizoFrog , December 14, 2011 4:59 PM
    I agree with 'back_by_demand', if you had Android and WP7 (both latest versions) running on the exact same hardware I think I would go for the WP7 model. Android is only a better option at the moment because there are no high end units for WP7, at least not running WP7.5.
  • 1 Hide
    twburger , December 14, 2011 8:30 PM

    I have been working and programming in Microsoft environments since 1985 and Microsoft has always made my efforts as painful as possible. The first major pain was MS DOS 4.0 in 1988. This would not even run on my computers and I switched back to 3.2. Windows presented so many Homer Simpson "Doh!" moments I haven't the room to describe the highlights here. The large amount of "undocumented" programming features (Microsoft hid the niftier stuff so only their software could do certain things) was upsetting. Windows CE (compact edition) when I worked on portable devices was excruciating. Vista literally made me cry out in pain. Windows 7 (Vista 2.0) fixed the problems but Microsoft made me pay for it after I paid for Vista.

    Microsoft applications don't fare any better. The no longer logical row limit in Excel and the bizarrely complex internal structure of Word files are examples. Yesterday's efforts to merge two Outlook 2010 form templates into one for a client resulted in ten consecutive crashes and dozens of incredibly unhelpful "help" messages. Which brings me to Microsoft's huge lack of help content and accuracy.

    My personal devices are Linux based from Android to Ubuntu except for this little Acer ultraportable I'm typing on right now and I'm looking for Chrome install information.

    I've been testing Windows 8 developer release and although crude the basic structure has potential. However, I and several others have been commenting that the Android like (well, MS copied it) interface where the apps that running can not be shut down (they enter a sort of terminate and stay resident state) and although it works on a phone or tablet where only a few applications are used, a typical desktop user will run dozens of apps and paging through the list can be cumbersome. The Microsoft developer running the forum responded to our advice with: "That's the way it's designed and that's how it will work." Wow! And people call me arrogant.

    Getting to the point: Microsoft has still been very successful despite all of these debacles and will continue to be for the near future even though they make the same mistakes repeatedly. Live with it and work around it or avoid everything Microsoft and ignore it.
  • 0 Hide
    SmileyTPB1 , December 15, 2011 12:24 AM
    I consider something a failure if the market is not lining up to use it/buy it.

    Hey, back in the day Beta was superior to VHS but look how that turned out.

    I need a smartphone for my job to connect to media in many different models of cars. A WP product will not work for me, no auto manufacturer supports it. Not even in MS Synch powered Fords. What does that tell you?
  • 0 Hide
    pocketdrummer , December 15, 2011 12:37 AM
    northwesternJust an FYI but Windows 8 is only available for PC right now, so why you added "on a pc" is beyond me.


    Maybe because we feel like we're using tablet software. If it felt like an OS designed to work "on a PC", then the thought to differentiate it from other platforms wouldn't come to mind.

    I'm skipping this train wreck of an OS. I wouldn't use that new Start "feature" if I was paid to use it.
  • 1 Hide
    pocketdrummer , December 15, 2011 12:39 AM
    alikumHow is it a failed project when the OS can run around your Android with the latest hardware in circles with the last gen hardware?


    Because the software doesn't allow the level of customization that people really want with their phone, thus few actually adopt it. Performance < Personalization for most people. Thus, the iPhone and Android phones do well, and the less versatile WP7 phone sell far less.
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , December 15, 2011 9:12 AM
    Well we already know that Windows 8 will run much like a smartphone OS in some respects, so this just accelerates the integration of mobile and desktop.
  • 0 Hide
    legacy7955 , December 16, 2011 1:56 AM
    eddieroolzWell we already know that Windows 8 will run much like a smartphone OS in some respects, so this just accelerates the integration of mobile and desktop.


    Sure Win 8 can be configured to either PC desktop or smartphone usage, but the two will not become one anytime in the near future, because there is NO viable replacement for a REAL keyboard, it is that simple.