REDMOND, Wash. – May 25, 2010 – Leadership Profiles: Andy Lees and Don Mattrick
Andy Lees: Creating New Mobile Experiences
Andy Lees, senior vice president of Microsoft’s Mobile Communication Business.
A 20-year Microsoft veteran, Lees is senior vice president of Microsoft’s Mobile Communication Business, responsible for the development, marketing and sales of Microsoft software and services for Windows Phones worldwide, including KIN and Windows Phone 7.
Lees has led the evolution of the company’s new mobile platform strategy. “There is a unique relationship between people and their phones,” Lees says. “It’s the one piece of technology they have with them all the time, keeping them connected to information, family, friends and coworkers. The journey is about helping people connect with their mobile lives in a fresh, new way.”
Microsoft’s new mobile experience is designed for what Lees and his team call “life in motion” — where events are happening all the time, just like life, and the phone keeps pace.
“We bring our rich experience to the phone by providing software in the cloud and on the PC to make all of that happen,” he says. “With music, we synchronize it automatically. With Xbox LIVE if you want to play with your friends, we make that super easy, even though they’re on a PC and you’re on a phone. These things all work in an integrated way across screens, so the phone supports your digital life much more completely.”
Don Mattrick, Microsoft senior vice president, Interactive Entertainment Business, shows director Steven Spielberg “Project Natal” for Xbox 360 at E3. June, 2009.
Given his depth of experience with the Microsoft partner ecosystem, Lees has a clear point of view about the role that partners can play in enabling industry innovation. With that in mind, he has approached his work with mobile partners in a way that has the ecosystem excited about the opportunities ahead. “It’s an approach modeled after the way Microsoft works with partners in the PC space,” Lees says, “where harmony between hardware and software specifications stimulates innovation, because when software developers invest in a new application, they can do so with the knowledge that their creation will work across the entire PC platform.” Hardware manufacturers also benefit because they are able to build their devices with confidence that they will work with a wide range of software.
“We’re creating that same environment in the mobile space,” Lees says, “We want a balance that strikes harmony where hardware, software and services can work together in a much richer way. And we’ve put those pieces together in Windows Phone 7.”
Don Mattrick: Creating New Gaming Experiences
Don Mattrick, senior vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business in Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices Division.
With 23 years in the video game industry, Mattrick has worked on game franchises recognized around the world, including “The Sims,” “Harry Potter” and “Need for Speed,” during tenures at Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) and Distinctive Software Inc. His journey in games development began early. At the age of 17, Mattrick founded Distinctive Software, which was acquired by EA in 1991 and subsequently became EA Canada.
As senior vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business, Mattrick oversees entertainment experiences spanning games, music and video. His team drives development for Xbox, Xbox LIVE, and Zune. Mattrick’s team also oversees global marketing strategy and cultivates relationships with third-party game publishers and developers around the world.
Mattrick describes one of his most exciting challenges as bringing multiple teams together to drive large-scale innovation: “What we realized was that inside of Microsoft, there was a tremendous amount of research, intellectual assets, people expertise, where people had been exploring each of those areas, but the pieces of that puzzle hadn’t been put together yet,” he says.
One of the more exciting developments during Mattrick’s tenure at Microsoft has been “Project Natal” for Xbox 360. Project Natal is the world’s first controller-free games and entertainment experience that makes games so fun and easy to play, all you have to do is jump, wave, kick, and talk. Time Magazine, Popular Mechanics, and Popular Science all named Project Natal one of the biggest innovations of 2009.
Mattrick describes the process of getting such a major project off the ground: “First off, you have to have a vision of what you want to accomplish in the future, and that’s usually driven by the executive team or some research incubation leaders, and then you start building with the pre-production team. They go and build proofs, build technology, build prototypes and see whether something can work and also try to measure whether it’s fun. And we went through those stages. Later, we added more team members and expanded it to the hundreds.”
Mattrick concludes: “When I think about what the opportunity is, the opportunity is to delight consumers. To make our art form more accessible to a broader audience.”