Microsoft Employees Leave The Windows Phone 7 Team…To Make Windows Phone 7 Apps

All naysaying aside, people are pretty excited about Windows Phone 7. Our readers are excited for it. I’d be outright lying if I said I wasn’t excited about it, too. Know who else is excited? The Windows Phone 7 team — but perhaps not for the reasons you’d expect.

With a few years of work finally coming to a head, some of the folks on the Windows Phone 7 team are taking a step back, looking at the fruits of their labor… and leaving. Not because they’re ashamed, and not because they’re being poached by the competition — but because instead of making Windows Phone 7, they want to make things for Windows Phone 7.

Earlier today, we received an anonymous tip that Microsoft Program Manager Mel Sampat was leaving Microsoft to do just that. After being one of the main voices behind the Windows Mobile blog for 4 years and helping to build the Calendar interface in Windows Phone 7, Mel Sampat (or “MelSam”, as he’s more commonly known) said in a letter to the team (see below) that he was departing to found mist labs, a company focusing on “helping big brands port their iPhone investments over to WM7” along with a few original apps of their own. The company’s placeholder page also shows iPhone and Android handsets, implying that WM7 might not necessarily be the sole focus for them.

According to the tipster, MelSam isn’t alone; at least 6 other employees (who went unnamed) have recently left the team now that the product is almost out the door, many of whom seem to be interested in their own gigs rather than making the standard move to the competition.

Sampat’s letter follows:

Hey guys
after 4 amazing years in this team, I’ve decided to shake things up a bit. I’m leaving Microsoft and my last day will be Mar 12. Wtf? Well, as some of you know, I was an ISV before coming to Microsoft, and made a decent living writing Pocket PC apps way back in the good old days when we were kicking ass with WM5. After seeing the great reception 7 has received, the dormant entrepreneur in me has resurrected with a huge urge to write apps again. I see an opportunity in a few original ideas I have, as well as helping big brands port their iPhone investments over to WM7. So I’m starting a new company and hope to have some cool WM7 stuff “ready in time for holiday 2010”.

It’s been a pleasure & honor to work alongside so many of you. I will support Microsoft from the outside, and wish nothing but the best for 7. Thanks again for your friendship, comradry and “teachable moments” since 2006. Stay in touch and feel free to drop me a line if you ever need the ISV perspective on something. I leave my features in the able hands of Steve May and the rest of the Time Management team, who deserve credit for the Calendar experience I helped build.

How to find me:


See you down the road.