Former Windows Phone leader Joe Belfiore is retiring from Microsoft after 32 years
Belfiore, who worked on Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile until 2016, has announced that he will be leaving Microsoft next summer after 32 years.
Joe Belfiore, known by Windows Phone fans for spearheading development on the platform alongside Windows 10 in the operating system’s early days, has announced that he will be retiring from Microsoft next summer. The news comes 32 years after Belfiore first joined the company, initially working on the Windows user experience and Internet Explorer starting in 1990. The announcement was via an internal email to Microsoft employees (announced through ZDNet).
Belfiore has been working on Windows Phone since 2009, which led to the development of the Metro interface that the platform is famous for, and which will eventually make its way to Windows 8 as well. With Windows 10, Belfiore has moved to pioneering development of the platform on all kinds of consumer devices, including Windows 10 PCs and tablets, as well as Windows 10 Mobile, the successor to Windows Phone 8.1. Windows 10 also brought things like Cortana from Windows Phones to PCs.
Of course, when talking about Windows Phone, it’s easy to remember the platform’s promises and ultimately its failures. Windows Phone as a platform has always been on an uneasy path. Despite initial promises from Belfiore, Windows Phone 7 devices could not be updated to Windows Phone 8, which burned many customers at the time. Likewise, the move from Windows Phone 8.1 to Windows 10 Mobile left the majority of Nokia Lumia devices behind, even though Microsoft originally promised to support most or all of the current Windows Phone 8.1 devices. Belfiore eventually confirmed in 2016 that Windows 10 Mobile will no longer receive any new features, only security updates from that point on. Since then, the focus has been on Windows 10 and Windows 11 It was mostly on computers.
Joe Belfiore demonstrates Continuum for phones at the Microsoft Build conference in San Francisco, Wednesday, April 29, 2015 (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Prior to Windows Phone, Belfiore worked in various positions at Microsoft, working on Windows Media Center and – albeit briefly – the Zune platform. Belfiore left the Windows division in 2020, and became the leader of Microsoft’s Office Experiences division, pioneering the development of applications that are part of the Microsoft 365 ecosystem, including new additions such as the relaunched Designer. In addition, Belfiore is the Vice President of Experience and Hardware at Microsoft.
According to an internal email, Belfiore is retiring to focus on spending time with his family. Before retiring, Belfiore says he’ll help with the transition, and worries that “there’s a lot of good to come.” Alice Holijek, Vice President of the Office Product Group at Microsoft, will take up his role.
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