When Joe Belfiore posted on social media using an iPhone, the internet collectively exploded with outcry. Why would this be such a big thing? Because Joe is the head of Windows Mobile devices such as Windows Phone. He was the mastermind behind Windows Phone 7, 8 and most recently the ‘reboot’ under Windows 10. He responded to an article written by The Verge and explains in detail why this isn’t such a big thing.
The internet have always been down on Windows Phone, and rightly so. It’s always trailed behind iOS and Android in both Marketshare and Support. After Nokia sold off their mobile unit to Microsoft, even Microsoft wrote off their mobile division so their hardware endevours could be united under helm of Panos Panay (the brilliant mind behind Surface). Developers haven’t been very keen on developing apps for the platform as well, seeing ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer saying their platform should ‘Just run Android Apps’.
Joe have always been a big advocate for Windows Mobile, and it’s great to see him experience other platforms, and hopefully that will lead to a better overall experience for the few of us using the Microsoft Lumia range.
Joe’s response to this article:
Joe here — I wanted to comment because I think it’s useful for anyone working in tech.. or ASPIRING to work in tech.. to think about the trade-offs involved in what somehow appears as a “dramatic” decision! I suspect the significant majority of you will land on the same side of the issue that I have…
My job for the last couple of years has been (1) to curate the PC experience for Windows PCs (including tablet devices) and (2) to curate the experience for Windows Phones. In both capacities, it’s very important for me to understand products like the iPhone and Android phones, which are heavily used by PC users around the world, and which represent the competition for Windows Phone. Consumers and business users expect their PCs and phones to work in concert— so to satisfy our customers we need to consider the devices they use AS WELL AS the devices we’d like them to use.
On a 9-month leave-of-absence, I have a HUGE AND UNUSUAL opportunity to get to know these products deeply. To understand the benefits and drawbacks of a full ecosystem like Windows, Android, iOS — you have to LIVE IN IT. You have to feel its strengths and weaknesses, be let down, be delighted. And you can’t do that just “playing around” with a device for a couple of days. You have to learn the UI, upload your photos, use cross-device apps and tools… all of it.
When we are developing a release of Windows, we MUST use it all the time, on all devices, in order to find the bugs, iterate the design. There’s really no choice or we can’t build Windows as well as we should. On a leave-of-absence, there are tons of talented people doing that every day, which gives me the possibility of spending depth time on other devices, and using Windows very much like you Insiders do, without full knowledge of what’s happening “behind the curtain”.
Furthermore, there’s a lot of work happening at MS which integrates Windows PCs with iOS and Android devices— like bringing Cortana to these phones so your intelligent assistant can help you whereever you are. I want to experience and understand all that work deeply too.
So … I think Vlad has it right when he says “it’s OK”. (Thank you, Vlad.) But, I’d go farther and say “it’d be CRAZY not to”! In fact, when I posted on FB that I was taking a leave, I did mention explicitly that I would do this… and (horror of horrors) I’ve followed through, spending a bunch of time using Google Maps, Spotify, Periscope, a MacBook, a Nexus phone, etc. And.. in today’s Microsoft, this practical, customer-focused attitude is well celebrated and supported. (and.. btw… I love my Surface Book!)
That’s all from me. Back to quality time with my family, well, and thinking about the (still-obviously-so-entertaining) question of what I could do next with my hair…