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Microsoft's Windows Phone chief takes a one-year sabbatical to go sailing

As if there wasn't enough concern over Windows Phone's fate, this will only add to it.

Microsoft Windows Phone Joe Belfiore takes sabbatical sailing
Credit: REUTERS/Jim Young

Joe Belfiore, the vice president of the OS group and most visible cheerleader for the struggling Windows Phone business, is taking a year off from work to sail around the world with his family.

Let that sink in for a minute.

Belfiore has been the most visible champion of Windows Phone at the company, and his departure is coming right when the new version is set to launch amid more than a few problems. For starters, a low-single digit market share, but more importantly, the slick new Lumia 950 and 950XL phones are only on AT&T. T-Mobile wanted them but was denied, and now there is word the phones are blocked from accessing the Verizon network.

This is not the kind of action that inspires confidence.

Belfiore posted the news on his Facebook page on Tuesday. Starting in November, his kids will be a part of a program called Semester At Sea, an educational cruise program run by the University of Virginia. It cruises the world, making stops at every continent except Antarctica. Belfiore cited his kids growing up as the reason.

"With Alexander in 6th grade, we already feel like high school is right around the corner. Eeeesh. SO… after dreaming about the idea for years… and with our kids getting ALMOST too old for something crazy… we’ve decided that we are going to take our family on the EDUCATIONAL TRIP OF OUR LIFETIME," he wrote.

The boat carries up to 600 students, faculty, and families. 

"As for me and my job… when the trip is over, I’ll be right back at it!" he wrote.

I wonder how many of us could say that? And it really makes me wonder about Microsoft's commitment to Windows Phone when top brass would allow the face of Windows Phone, which Belfiore basically is, to leave right during a launch and be out of the loop for a year.

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