Redmond, Washington -- In an apparent move that signals software monopolist Microsoft's aspiration to impress the world with its smartphone and tablet operating systems, the company has shuffled two executives overseeing projects related to mobile operating systems named--Terry Myerson head of Windows Phone and is moving former chief Andy Lees to a new role that will involve Windows 8 and Windows Phone in some way in 2012, the company said Monday.
As the mobile space is widely dominated by Android and Apple's iOS among smartphone buyers, the Redmond Vole continues to search for ways to extend its dominance in the PC market to ensure it is not left behind in the rapidly flourishing and highly-competitive smartphone business.
Microsoft Windows Phone division President Andy Lees, who has led the phone group since 2008, has been elevated to a new position overseeing the development of the Windows Phone software and Windows 8, the combined computer-and-tablet operating system the company expects to release in 2012, reporting directly to CEO Steve Ballmer, Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft said in an e-mail posted to its website.
Corporate Vice President Terry Myerson, who headed the engineering efforts for the phone unit, is moving to Windows Phone to fill the vacancy created by Lees's promotion. Myerson had been a corporate vice president in charge of engineering for Windows Phone. However, Myerson would not immediately get the “President” title right away (but could at some point).
Terry Myerson will head Microsoft's Windows Phone efforts.
Microsoft veteran Lees has been managing Microsoft's mobile sector, when Pieter Knook left. Lees was named one of Microsoft's Presidents in October 2010. All of Lees' direct reports are moving to Myerson.
Microsoft's Windows operating system is the most widely used software for personal computers around the globe. But the software giant races to gain relevancy in the smartphone and tablet spaces, where Google's Android and Apple's iOS have become consumer favorites.
In a Monday email to staff, Ballmer stressed the urgency behind the moves, which are effective immediately.
“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,” the memo read. “We have remarkable potential with Windows Phone and Windows 8, and this move sets us up to really deliver against that potential.”
Ballmer did not disclosed on exactly what the position entailed or specify Lees' title. Besides, Ballmer’s deputies are also working on Windows 8 to run tablet machines capable of rivaling Apple's iPad.
“They are wrestling to deliver this whole seamless experience across devices and they are probably better off having one person trying to oversee that,” said Sid Parakh, an analyst at McAdams Wright Ragen in Seattle.
Moreover, the company's Windows 8 software, which Microsoft revealed last week will arrive in a test version in February, will be a key technology for leading the company into the market for tablet computing. The software will use a system of commands similar to its phone software and support touch-screen applications on both tablets and PCs, which could take place as early as mid-to fall-2012 when Microsoft is expected to launch Windows Phone 8, which will run an operating system codenamed “Apollo.”
Just earlier this year, Microsoft inked a partnership with Nokia Corp. to use Windows Phone to power Nokia's next generation of smartphones. Nokia brought the first products to market in Europe in fall and will soon introduce them in the U.S.
Myerson, who joined Microsoft in 1997, had previously managed Windows Phone engineering. He was moved to that role from Microsoft's Exchange e-mail product as the company decided to abandon previous work on Windows Mobile and redo phone software to better appeal to consumers in the wake of the iPhone's success.
Andy Lees, president of Microsoft Corp.'s mobile unit, talks about the company's Windows Phone models, mobile software and sales strategy. He speaks with Emily Chang on Bloomberg Television's “Bloomberg West.”