Last Fall, Joe Belfiore, Corporate Vice President in Microsoft’s Operating Systems Group came back to Redmond after nearly a year of sabbatical leave. Until now, the exec had stayed very quiet and didn't talk publicly except for a single tweet published back in November. Yesterday though, Belfiore finally made his public comeback just as Microsoft started rolling out the Windows 10 Creators Update. The exec gave an interview to Mashable and also started tweeting again:
Leave of absence. Got back in the fall, went "public" today. my story on https://t.co/On1i8bYM49
— Joe Belfiore (@joebelfiore) April 12, 2017
In the interview, the former Windows Phone evangelist reveals that it was a "great experience" to travel the world with his family for almost a year. "I came back with a new perspective on the broad audience Microsoft serves,” he explained, and the experience also gave Belfiore unique look on how Microsoft evolved during his absence. "The improved collaboration and customer focus has been really refreshing,” he noted.
Belfiore addressed the state of Microsoft Edge in the interview, which is one of the projects that he worked on over the past few years. While Microsoft has improved Edge significantly with the Creators Update, Belfiore acknowledged that “in the browser scheme of things, we have room to grow.” However, the exec revealed that Microsoft has no plans to port Edge on other mobile platforms for now. "We want to put customers first and it’s not something we have plans for" he explained. "We’ll put investment where there are high value experiences.”
Moreover, Belfiore shared that ditching the Internet Explorer brand after so many years was the right thing to do for Microsoft. “We’re not second-guessing that. It takes educating people, but I feel righteous about it,” he said, adding that Microsoft was "playing a long game" against its competitors.
Other highlights of the interview include Belfiore's new role as the education advocate in the Windows team. This isn't officially reflected in his job title, but Belfiore is now in charge of improving Microsoft's education efforts, in a context where Chromebooks are increasingly challenging Windows PCs. "We have made giant progress in Windows 10 on Creators Update,” said Belfiore, noting that the OS now "takes less memory and hard drive space, which lets the price of devices come down."
However, the exec didn't address the recent rumours about Windows 10 Cloud, which could be Microsoft's most serious response to Chromebooks. As Microsoft is rumoured to hold an early May event in addition to the Build 2017 developer conference, we're also wondering if we'll soon see Belfiore back on stage. The exec is a great presenter and used to be recognised as the face of Windows Phone back in the day, so we definitely hope to see him more in the coming weeks.