Was Andy Lees’ Removal a Demotion?


Yesterday the Internet was abuzz with the news that Andy Lees is being “reshuffled” from the head of the Windows Phone division into another part of the company. Ballmer’s own wording of the announcement seemed rather positive, indicating that the move is a promotion from Lees into a higher position.

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

However, rumors reported by The Verge seem to indicate that the move is anything but a promotion. Unnamed sources indicate that the move from the high profile Windows Phone division into what is essentially the limbo of inter-operability between Windows 8 and WP7 was Ballmer’s way of benching Lees without removing him from the company entirely.

According to the report, Lees could be directly responsible for Motorola now touting Android exclusivity, as he bumped heads with the company over the software aspect of what would become the now defunct Kin line of phones. Lees also seems to be at the head of strife between Microsoft and LG as the partnership with Nokia has all but eclipsed other manufacturer’s interest in developing WP7 handsets.

Terry Myerson is Lees’ replacement and seems to be well-liked at the company. The change in leadership could usher in a new era for Windows phone as the Tango and Apollo updates promise more polish for the operating system to offer broader appeal to the masses.


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