Charlie Kindel, the general manager of Microsoft's Windows Phone division, has announced that he is leaving the company after 21 years to start his own company.
Announced by Kindel late yesterday, the move is currently being kept under wraps. "I'm not yet ready to disclose details about the new venture," he writes in a blog post, "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."
In an email sent to staff, Kindel reminisced about his first Microsoft product - a Z-80 Softcard for an Apple II+ personal computer, purchased in 1984 - and his initial rejection when he tried to get a job with the company. "I got no-hired after my first interviews," he explained. "A dev role in Languages - shouldn’t really surprise anyone."
A Christmas card bribe to the recruiter led to another set of interviews, and Kindel's career began. "We thought DCOM was hot sh**," he remembers. "It wasn't. The real reason I'm leaving Microsoft? COM is making a comeback," Kindel joked.
Kindel's exit comes as Windows Phone is about to make one of the biggest steps of its existence: installation by default on Nokia handsets. Although the deal will be the making or breaking of Nokia, Microsoft is apparently more sanguine about the situation, and Kindel feels confident that the project can succeed without his presence.
Despite his move to a new venture, Kindel has stated that he will remain a Microsoft loyalist. "To my kids: No, just because I don't work at Microsoft any more you may not use Google," he joked. "Remember, every time you use Google, a puppy dies."