Bloomberg News

Microsoft Replaces Lees as Head of Share-Losing Phone Unit

December 12, 2011

(Updates with comment from Ballmer in fourth paragraph.)

Dec. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Microsoft Corp., the largest software maker, replaced Andy Lees as head of its Windows Phone Division after losing share to Google Inc. in the market for mobile operating systems.

Terry Myerson, a vice president, will take charge of the division, while Lees takes on a new role, reporting to Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer, Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft said in an e-mail posted to its website.

Microsoft’s share of the market for mobile-phone operating systems dropped to 1.5 percent in the third quarter from 2.7 percent a year earlier, according to Gartner Inc. Share for Google’s Android more than doubled to 53 percent from 25 percent in the same period. Ballmer, in the blog posting, thanked Lees “for his contributions to the phone team.”

Myerson will be in charge of operations including Windows Phone development and marketing, Ballmer said. Lees, who will retain his title of president, will work with Ballmer on Windows Phone and the coming Windows 8 software designed for tablets, the company said.

“They’re trying to deliver this whole seamless experience across devices and they’re probably better off having one person trying to oversee that,” said Sid Parakh, an analyst at McAdams Wright Ragen in Seattle.

Share Losses to Google

Microsoft is aiming to regain share lost to Android and Apple Inc.’s iPhone with updated software and a partnership with handset maker Nokia Oyj. Apple had 15 percent of the mobile- software market last quarter, while Research In Motion Ltd. had 11 percent share, according to Gartner.

Ballmer’s deputies are also working on Windows 8 to run tablet machines capable of rivaling Apple’s iPad.

Myerson, who joined Microsoft in 1997, had previously overseen Windows Phone engineering. He was shifted to that role from Microsoft’s Exchange e-mail product as the company decided to scrap previous work on Windows Mobile and redo phone software to better appeal to consumers in the wake of the iPhone’s success.

--Editors: Tom Giles, Jillian Ward

To contact the reporter on this story: Dina Bass in Seattle at dbass2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net


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