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Former Samsung VP Joins Microsoft's Windows Phone Team as GM

According to an interview on the Web site Boy Genius Report (BGR), the former vice president of Samsung's Consumer & Enterprise Services division, Gavin Kim, is moving to Microsoft to become the general manager of the Windows Phone division.

When asked for comment, a Microsoft spokesperson said in an e-mail, "We can only confirm that Gavin has accepted a position within Microsoft."

However, in the BGR interview published on Monday, Kim 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."

Among his responsibilities, he said, will be making Windows Phone more visible to smartphone buyers: "Each time a consumer goes to buy a smartphone from a carrier or retail store, Windows Phone has to be on their short list."

According to his LinkedIn profile, Kim joined Samsung in 2008 and was responsible for "leading development of Samsung Mobile's software and services offerings, incubating Samsung's content and developer partnerships, and building Samsung Mobile's Enterprise Business."

Kim expressed optimism for Windows Phone's future growth, telling BGR that he's noticed "an already fervent base of Windows Phone supporters out there and they all get it."

However, Windows Phone has been plagued with middling to low market share since its debut. The latest numbers from comScore show that as of September, Windows Phone had 5.6 percent market share among U.S. smartphone subscribers, placing it behind Google Android (44.8 percent market share), Apple iOS (27.4 percent) and BlackBerry OS (18.9 percent). Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer even joked at this year's Worldwide Partner Conference that Windows Phone's share has "gone from very small to very small."

On the other hand, research firms Gartner and IDC have been optimistic about Windows Phone's longer-term performance, with each firm forecasting roughly 20 percent market share for the OS by 2015. That would put Windows Phone squarely in second place behind projected market leader Android.

Kim suggested in the BGR interview that the release of the Windows Phone 7.5 update, previously code-named "Mango," will be key to Windows Phone's success. The update, which promised more than 500 new features, was made available to most Windows Phone subscribers in late October. Device makers such as Nokia, HTC and Kim's former company, Samsung, have been unveiling devices based on Windows Phone 7.5 over the past few months.

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and MCPmag.com.