Andrew Lees, senior vice president, mobile communications, Microsoft

Andrew Lees is responsible for guiding Microsoft’s global mobile communications strategy for business and consumer customers, overseeing the development, marketing and sales of Microsoft software and services for mobile devices, including Windows Mobile and Live mobile.

In a bid to lose its corporate image, Microsoft has been working on a flashier, more consumer friendly version of the Windows platform, which will launch in the fourth quarter of this year as Windows mobile 6.5. The latest version of the OS will also look to cash in on the application store hype, with Windows Marketplace featuring a showcase of around 20,000 apps, of which two thirds will be targeted at consumers.

Last year it was anticipated that a Windows Mobile version 7 would be launched in 2009 but this has now been delayed and is now due to be released next year. There is a danger that 6.5 will be essentially a bridging move; designed to update the old version 6 for just long enough to complete the work on the 2010 product. Lees will be keen to stop Microsoft from falling behind in the OS and interface race, which is being led by the firm’s arch competitors.

Nokia, Apple and Android are all making leaps and Microsoft needs to stay in the game. While Lees can take solace from the fact that the smartphone segment is booming relative to global mobile shipments, competition is intense and no company has a divine right to a place at the table. The maintenance of good relationships between Microsoft, the handset manufacturing community and the operators is key for Lees.

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