Windows Phone Exec Reassigned; Critics Speculate

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft has reassigned the man responsible for its mobile phone division during the past three years. Whether it's a snub for poor performance or a major change in the way the company serves desktop and mobile markets remains open to debate.

Andy Lees, who was President of the Windows Phone division and oversaw all the company's work in the smartphone market has now been reassigned to work directly with Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer. His replacement, Terry Myerson, had been in charge of the division's engineering.

Lees retains the title "President," while Myerson remains a corporate vice-president. However, unofficial reports liken Lees to an athlete who has been benched: still part of the team but not currently called upon to play.

Market Share Steadily Declining

There are certainly plenty of reasons why Lees might be removed from such a powerful position.

After years of delays, Windows Phone 7 has finally received good reviews but seems to have arrived far too late to pick up a sizable audience. Most estimates point to very low sales of the new handsets.

On a worldwide basis, as few as 1.5 per cent of smartphones are running any Microsoft system, and that figure continues to fall.

It has also been rumored that Microsoft is unimpressed with the way Lees dealt with smartphone manufacturers. He apparently upset both Motorola and HTC over various deals. Such treatment may have contributed to both firms working steadily with Google's Android system, which has been the smartphone success story during the past couple of years. (Source:

Windows 8 Linked to Smartphones

According to Microsoft, Lees is now in charge of "a set of work designed to drive maximum impact in 2012 with the company's Windows Phone and Windows 8 efforts." Those efforts may be linked to Microsoft's strategic decision to blur the lines between computers and smartphones.

Window 8 is designed very much with touchscreen devices in mind, and Lees could be coordinating efforts to help developers deliver single applications that work equally well on phones, tablets and computers. (Source:

However, more cynical observers suggest Lees' new role may be short-lived, and could simply be a way to diminish Lees' power within the company without a formal public snubbing.

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