Windows Phone gets former Samsung VP as new general manager

On the same day that Microsoft is holding a major press event in New York City to promote its Windows Phone business, Boy Genius Report has the first word of a pretty major new hire for the Windows Phone team. Gavin Lee, who was the VP of consumer and enterprise services at Samsung, has jumped ship and has joined Microsoft. Lee will be a general manager for the Windows Phone team.

Samsung is one of the biggest providers of Windows Phone-based smartphones. However, Lee's background was to help with the launch of Samsung's Android-powered Galaxy smartphones, including the most recent Samsung Galaxy S II. When asked about his new gig at Microsoft, Lee said, "I will be responsible to help set the future direction for the Windows Phone platform and to accelerate Microsoft’s trajectory to win the hearts and minds of consumers, carriers, device manufacturers, developers and partners."

This could turn out to be a major win for Microsoft as it tries to convince smartphone consumers to take a look at Windows Phone and its products. Lee's experience with Samsung and helping to launch their successful Galaxy smartphones could come in very handy indeed.

Lee says, "Each time a consumer goes to buy a smartphone from a carrier or retail store, Windows Phone has to be on their short list. And, with the Windows Phone 7.5 release, I think Microsoft is closing the gap rapidly and removing all doubt about their place in mobile."

Ultimately, it's all about the people who work hard to create good products. Lee's track record would suggest he's the perfect person to elevate Windows Phone and get that operating system on the same level as Apple's iOS/iPhone and Google's Android in terms of market share.

At the end of the day this is a great win for Microsoft, Windows Phone just got another ace in its operation department and great things will come of it. 

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As an Android user, this worries me. The GS 2 is one of the best -- if not the best -- Android phone out there, so it really sucks to see such a key figure from Samsung abandon ship. But alas, Microsoft needs all the help they can get to get their platform off the ground. I hope that with all the expertise he has, he can convince Microsoft to finally pull out all the stops and create a huge marketing campaign for WP7. A few blips on TV about an HTC phone won't cut it, especially when it's fine print (see HTC Radar ad).

Why does Microsoft always like to make a grand entrance to a party after everyone else has already left?

That's not the whole picture.

Verizon will continue to use Android handsets in the bulk of their ads because their LTE network is the ONLY thing they want to talk about now, and for now access to that is only on Android devices.

Sprint doesn't have the same problem, since their WiMax is a) being phased out in favor of LTE and b) not all that wide-spread anyway, and therefore a poor direction for marketing. Sprint sales reps, however, will push Android devices for a variety of reasons (and it's not that they're Android experts).

There are ways to work around it, if Microsoft is motivated to make it happen.

It's pretty obvious that Verizon isn't going to put any major marketing efforts into Windows Phone until they support LTE.

The bigger problem which they need to eliminate are retailers eliminating Windows Phone from the consumer's shortlist without any real input from the consumer in question. Training the large of amount of pansy salesmen and saleswomen to not be afraid of selling a Windows Phone (purely because it MIGHT get returned) is an obstacle which equally needs to be hurdled.