Charlie Kindel, a 21-year Microsoft veteran, and most recently General Manager of Windows Phone developer experience, publicly posted his departure from the company to work on his "super secret stealth startup," based in the Seattle Area. For the last two and a half years, Kindel led the team that built the current Windows Phone application platform, and was responsible for much of the evangelism and outreach that accompanied the complete revitalization of Microsoft's mobile ecosystem.
There is no doubt that the last two and a half years have brought the most drastic changes to Microsoft's approach to mobile operating systems. The long-running Windows Mobile came to a screeching halt at version 6.5 when it launched simultaneously with the new "Windows Phone" brand, which at the time, wasn't even an operating system yet.
Windows Mobile 6.5 was only out for four months when it was thoroughly upstaged by the new "Windows Phone 7 Series", (later shortened to Windows Phone 7...and eventually to just "Windows Phone"), and a host of developer-enticing tools and promotions to help fan the flames of excitement behind the revamped mobile platform.
This dev-centric approach continued throughout the year with frequent updates to the developer toolkit, a general simplification of app registry, listing, and approval, and an ear open to the demands of the community, which involved such unique changes as adding support for Visual Basic.
Kindel and crew were drawing in 1,200 new developers per week to the platform in its first year of availability.
Of course, award-winning app developer Andrew Long gave us the feeling that this was just a "covering of bases" for developers, who wanted to quickly populate the attractive new Windows Phone Marketplace with apps, but not pursue development there.
Kindel, it would appear, would say otherwise even if he's not obligated to do so. In his farewell message to colleagues, he said "I may stop using some Microsoft products now that I'm out of here. But not Windows Phone. The BEST product Microsoft has ever built. Do not let up!"