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Charlie Kindel, a Microsoft veteran of 21 years, has left Microsoft to start his own company, after doing his best to attract developers to the Windows Phone 7 platform.  (Source: Flickr/Charlie Kindel)
Executive was critical in selling developers on the WP7 platform

While Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Windows Phone 7 (WP7) smartphone operating system has posted relatively abysmal sales, it has a surprisingly decent applications catalog.  A lot of Microsoft's success in attracting WP7 developers is thanks to Microsoft veteran Charlie Kindel, who joined the WP7 division in 2010 prior to its launch.  

Now with Microsoft hoping for a turn-around with its Windows Phone 7.1 "Mango" software update and lineup refresh, it's been dealt a blow as Mr. Kindel has announced via his personal webpage that he will be leaving the company.

He writes:
21 years later I have finally decided I need to do something different: I'm leaving to start a new company here in the Seattle area. I'm sure you'll hear about it. I'm not yet ready to disclose details about the new venture but I can say I will be staying in the Seattle area to build it. It has to do with sports, advertising, mobile, social-networking, and, of course, the cloud. I'm insanely excited to get started.
While the loss isn't completely catastrophic for Microsoft, it does come at a very inopportune time.  Continued strong developer support is critical for the Mango launch to be a success.  With Mr. Kindel gone, all bets are off about exactly what Microsoft will be able to bring to the table, developer-wise.

As we've noted many times, Microsoft's WP7 project has been the ideal case study in a platform whose imagination is far ahead of the competition, but whose market execution is sorely lacking.  It's hard to say whether this will be another significant chapter in the platform's history of struggles, or just another footnote.

On a positive note WP7 did pick up Brandon Foy, the creator of a popular YouTube fan-made commercial for WP7.  Microsoft will be employing Mr. Foy, a graphics designer, as a key part of its UX (GUI) design team.




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