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Windows Phone Marketing GM Out After 5 Months (UPDATED)

Gavin Kim, a former Samsung vice president who joined Microsoft in November as general manager of Windows Phone Product Marketing, left the company last week.

Kim's departure was first reported last Thursday by Microsoft observer Mary Jo Foley. A Microsoft spokesperson later confirmed Kim's exit.

"We can confirm that Gavin Kim has made a personal decision to leave Microsoft," the spokesperson said in an e-mail. "We feel very good about the work he has done to set the team, and its new lead Eugene Ho, up for success. We wish him all the best."

UPDATE, 4/23: Mobile security company NQ Mobile announced it has hired Kim as its first chief product officer.

A central part of Kim's responsibilities at Microsoft was to increase awareness of Windows Phone among partners, developers and especially consumers. "Each time a consumer goes to buy a smartphone from a carrier or retail store, Windows Phone has to be on their short list," Kim told Web site Boy Genius Report in an interview last November.

Microsoft has since ramped up its consumer-targeted Windows Phone marketing efforts. Earlier this year, it launched the "Smoked by Windows Phone" video series, in which Microsoft challenged users of other smartphone platforms to a race with Windows Phone to see which device completed a task faster.

More recently, Microsoft got a significant boost from AT&T, which reportedly plans to spend $150 million on marketing the just-launched, Windows Phone-based Nokia Lumia 900. With the Lumia 900's aggressive $99.99 price tag, Microsoft hopes to leech market share from perennial leaders Android and iPhone.

The Lumia 900's positive reviews and jackrabbit start -- it reached No. 1 on Amazon's list of most-purchased mobile devices just days after its release -- are promising, but in Europe, other Windows Phone-based Nokia devices are struggling.

"No one comes into the store and asks for a Windows phone," said a European telecom executive quoted in a Reuters report on Tuesday. The executive added, "If the Lumia with the same hardware came with Android in it and not Windows, it would be much easier to sell."

According to Reuters, European operators cite a lack of significant marketing spending from Microsoft as a key reason for poor Nokia Windows Phone sales.

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About the Author

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

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