Windows Phone Evangelist Kindel Leaving Microsoft


One of the key executives behind Microsoft's Windows Phone development effort is leaving the company after 21 years to start his own company.

Charlie Kindel, who most recently served as general manager of Microsoft Windows Phone, disclosed in a blog posted Monday that he will officially leave the company on Sept. 2.

Kindel no longer lists Microsoft as his employer on his LinkedIn page, which now simply says: "Working on what's next."

A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed Kindel's departure, but did not say who might be named to fill the vacant post.

“I thank Charlie for his passion, energy and countless contributions to Microsoft and Windows Phone,” said Terry Myerson, corporate vice president, Windows Phone Engineering, in a statement. “We wish him well in his next endeavor.”

In his blog, Kindel noted that July 2, 1990 was his first day at Microsoft and, calling himself "an entrepreneur at heart," said he initially assumed he would stay at Microsoft for only three years or so.

"Twenty-one 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," he wrote. "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."

Kindel's departure is sure to add to questions about Microsoft's odds of succeeding in the mobile phone software market. Windows Phone 7, the company's latest effort to compete with Apple's iPhone and smartphones based on Google Android, has struggled to gain traction and Microsoft's market share has continued to decline.

Kindel, who previously served as Windows Home Server general manager, was one of several executives moved to Microsoft's struggling Mobile Communications Business in 2009, the group for Windows Phone and its predecessor, Windows Mobile.

His blog, addressed to "a gazillion old friends and colleagues," provides a summary of his career at Microsoft and includes "lots of inside jokes" which he acknowledged many people wouldn't understand.

"Shipping IE 3.0 was my first taste of what it really meant to build a product that changed the world," he said in the blog. "I would have never joined the Windows Phone team if I had not had that prior experience of an impossible, come-from-behind, project."

The blog included this: "To my wife: Thank you for putting up with 'Microsoft Time' ('Honey, I’ll be home in an hour.' Four hours later…). I’ve learned everything I know from Julie Kindel."

And this gem near the end: "To my kids: No, just because I don’t work at Microsoft anymore you many not use Google. Remember, every time you use Google, a puppy dies."