Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore is on a nine month long hiatus, and seems like it is enough time for him to switch to an iPhone. Belfiore put up a tweet about his time in Kyoto, and one of his followers promptly noticed that it was sent from an iPhone. Belfiore is the head of Windows Phone and was responsible for the total makeover with Windows Phone 7 way back in 2010. Also Read - Windows 11 could be a free upgrade for you provided you fall in this category
Hey, strangers! Today in Kyoto we stumbled across a HAIR SHRINE! I paid my respects, thinking of all of you! pic.twitter.com/BpsfA4lHKJ Also Read - Nintendo Direct E3 2021: Metroid Dread, Mario Party Superstars, a new Legend of Zelda and more
— joebelfiore (@joebelfiore) January 26, 2016 Also Read - Windows 11 leaked online: Centralised start menu, revamped UI, new widgets, here's what to expect
Belfiore tweeted a photo of himself at the Hair Shrine in Kyoto. He wrote, “Hey, strangers! Today in Kyoto we stumbled across a HAIR SHRINE! I paid my respects, thinking of all of you!” The seemingly innocent tweet garnered a lot of attention when one of his followers noticed the sign – ‘via Twitter for iPhone’.
The Verge wrote about Belfiore’s tweet, and the Microsoft executive took time out of his hiatus to respond to it. In the comments section he wrote how it was okay to use a smartphone from a rival company, as it is important to “understand products like the iPhone and Android phones, which are heavily used by PC users around the world, and which represent the competition for Windows Phone.”
Microsoft seems to have come a long way from the days under former CEO Steve Ballmer. Back in 2010, WSJ had reported how Microsoft employees using an iPhone had to literally hide from their boss. Under Satya Nadella though things are different. The current Microsoft CEO at a recent keynote speech took out an iPhone on stage to showcase Microsoft apps running on iOS.
Joe Belfiore’s comment on The Verge follows.
Joe here — I wanted to comment because I think it’s useful for anyone working in tech.. or ASPIRING to work in tech.. to think about the trade-offs involved in what somehow appears as a “dramatic” decision! I suspect the significant majority of you will land on the same side of the issue that I have…
My job for the last couple of years has been (1) to curate the PC experience for Windows PCs (including tablet devices) and (2) to curate the experience for Windows Phones. In both capacities, it’s very important for me to understand products like the iPhone and Android phones, which are heavily used by PC users around the world, and which represent the competition for Windows Phone. Consumers and business users expect their PCs and phones to work in concert— so to satisfy our customers we need to consider the devices they use AS WELL AS the devices we’d like them to use.
On a 9-month leave-of-absence, I have a HUGE AND UNUSUAL opportunity to get to know these products deeply. To understand the benefits and drawbacks of a full ecosystem like Windows, Android, iOS — you have to LIVE IN IT. You have to feel its strengths and weaknesses, be let down, be delighted. And you can’t do that just “playing around” with a device for a couple of days. You have to learn the UI, upload your photos, use cross-device apps and tools… all of it.
When we are developing a release of Windows, we MUST use it all the time, on all devices, in order to find the bugs, iterate the design. There’s really no choice or we can’t build Windows as well as we should. On a leave-of-absence, there are tons of talented people doing that every day, which gives me the possibility of spending depth time on other devices, and using Windows very much like you Insiders do, without full knowledge of what’s happening “behind the curtain”.
Furthermore, there’s a lot of work happening at MS which integrates Windows PCs with iOS and Android devices— like bringing Cortana to these phones so your intelligent assistant can help you wherever you are. I want to experience and understand all that work deeply too.
So … I think Vlad has it right when he says “it’s OK”. (Thank you, Vlad.) But, I’d go farther and say “it’d be CRAZY not to”! In fact, when I posted on FB that I was taking a leave, I did mention explicitly that I would do this… and (horror of horrors) I’ve followed through, spending a bunch of time using Google Maps, Spotify, Periscope, a MacBook, a Nexus phone, etc. And.. in today’s Microsoft, this practical, customer-focused attitude is well celebrated and supported. (and.. btw… I love my Surface Book!).
That’s all from me. Back to quality time with my family, well, and thinking about the (still-obviously-so-entertaining) question of what I could do next with my hair…