When Gavin Kim joined Microsoft to become the GM of Marketing for Windows Phone, big expectations were set from the get go. Fresh from Kim’s successful stint in Samsung, Microsoft had hopes that the former Samsung executive could help bring Windows Phone to the top of mind of customers, so the pressure was on. Fast forward to today, and Kim has decided to call it quits after just five months on the job. Uh oh.
A spokesperson for Microsoft confirmed the news to ZDNet, saying that “Gavin Kim has made a personal decision to leave Microsoft.” The official statement also said that, “We feel very good about the work he has done to set the team.” Eugene Ho has been chosen to take the lead from Kim.
What happens in Redmond stays in Redmond, and we can’t really tell what made Kim leave the company that is so eager to grow. We have a feeling he will be laying low for a good while as well. It was only last November that the newly appointed marketing head spoke to BGR about how he plans to “create more Windows Phone believers”. According to him, Windows Phone already has a good number of supporters that are passionate and vocal, so his job was to reflect that message in the company’s products and marketing collaborations with their partners.
“No one comes into the store asking for a Windows Phone”
Five months probably aren’t enough time to turn things around for a brand that has been languishing in the bottom of the barrel, with Nielsen not even bother to list Windows Phone market share on its research of smartphone use in the US. Windows Phone’s share was lumped with other platforms and it was believed to be below 4%. The research, which was done in February, showed that Android phones were leading with 48%, followed by iPhones with 32%. No surprises there.
One fair way to judge a person’s worth is by looking at the legacy that they leave behind. It seems Kim had somewhat succeeded in making Windows Phone an attractive purchase in customer’s eyes – regardless of the low price point of the phone. Reports from various AT&T stores suggest that the Lumia 900 has been selling quite well, with supply of the phone being outstripped by the high demand. This could be telling signs that Microsoft, with Kim’s help, has hit the jackpot or simply a case of the stores not stocking enough Lumia 900 in the first place. Or, quite simply the fact that Microsoft is hugely subsidizing the cost of the smartphone for both Nokia and AT&T, to help it achieve the magical $99 price point.
Of course, while you may think it, we don't want Windows Phone to go anywhere. It represents a viable alternative in the increasingly competitive mobile arena. Without it, there are only two actors, and that doesn't make for healthy competition. Have you ever had the chance to play with a Windows Phone? What are your perceptions? Let us know – yes you! Who shall reign supreme?