In the fall of 2015 Joe Belfiore revealed that he was heading off on a nine month sabbatical with his family as a break from his work at Microsoft. At that time he and the Windows Phone team he was in charge of was wrapping up work on what would end up being the last Windows mobile hardware that the company has released since - the Lumia 550, 950 and 950 XL.
Of course, earlier in 2015 the Redmond company had written off their purchase of Nokia from two years earlier and took a near $1 billion write off on the purchase as the company divulged itself of the remnants of the Finnish company acquisition including layoffs of many employees that were part of the deal.
Since then you all know the state of Windows Phone/Windows 10 Mobile and the downward fall to less than 1% of the mobile handset market overall. All of this should come as no surprise since there has only been a few handsets released that support the Windows 10 Mobile operating system.
So when Joe Belfiore took to Twitter yesterday to let everyone know he was publicly back at the company and on the job, many hoped he was coming back to revive the companies dying Windows mobile efforts.
Well, the reason he made himself know once again on Twitter and back at Microsoft was because of this piece by Lance Ulanoff on Mashable entitled Joe Belfiore returns to Microsoft and what he does best went live.
In that article we learned that Joe has actually been back at Microsoft since last fall and if you take a look at his Twitter history you can see he tweeted in late October that he was following along with the October Surface Studio and Creators Update launch from home.
After that he only posted one other tweet, around Thanksgiving, before he picked back up yesterday alongside the official release of the Windows 10 Creators Update.
The article from Mashable focuses on his return and there are a lot of comments about the progress Microsoft Edge has made plus his advocacy position for education on the Windows team. It also mentions that he is still involved in the creation of new and interesting Windows devices.
Outside of these new focus areas for Belfiore, what else is he up to on the Windows team? As you might recall a few months ago, it was reported by Brad Sams that Belfiore had been assigned duties to figure out how to monetize the Windows Shell.
Well two tweets from members of the Windows Shell team yesterday after Joe publicly outed himself as back and working basically confirmed he is leading that teams work as one of the Corporate VP's in the Windows and Devices Group. You can see the tweets here and here.
Of course, that same Twitter thread is full of comments from the Windows Mobile fanbase because when they caught wind of Joe's public return the requests to revive Windows 10 Mobile went viral.
Whether or not Belfiore will be able to do that remains to be seen but something tells me he has been silent on Twitter for other reasons. With the education reference in his Mashable interview - it just might have something to do with the #MicrosoftEDU event that is now scheduled in New York City on 02 May.
For me it is just way too many coincidences for there to not be a connection between all of these events at this particular time.
What do you all think?