In an effort to make Windows Mobile phones a household name, Microsoft said today that it has hired Todd Peters, formerly of Staples, as corporate vice president of marketing for its Mobile Communications Business.
He replaces Suzan DelBene, who left the company suddenly a few months ago.
The company said Peters will be responsible for marketing efforts for Windows Mobile; Windows Live for mobile; and other mobility offerings related to product planning, product management and campaigns, and marketing communications.
The position is pretty high-profile. Currently, Windows Mobile phones are available from 160 mobile operators in 55 countries; there are 49 Windows Mobile device makers, and they expect to sell 20 million licenses this fiscal year.
But Microsoft has been mostly successful in the enterprise, where the devices easily connect to an Exchange server, allowing people to stay connected to their e-mail, calendar and contacts. That has been a smart way to go since higher-end smartphones first were popular among business workers, but now that consumers have started to buy smartphones, too, Microsoft is playing catch-up. It hasn’t seen the kind of successes that Apple’s iPhone has in the consumer market.
The company said in a release that it hired Peters to change that by building “upon the success Microsoft has seen with business users, and help the company as it broadly expands its offerings into new segments and markets.” His experience “makes him the right person to help Microsoft in its mission to put a smartphone in every pocket.”
At Staples, Peters served as vice president responsible for brand management for all U.S. retail technology marketing. He came up with the “Easy” brand concept, which you would most likely recognize as a a big round red button that people push to make things easy.
Before joining Staples, Peters worked at Intel, where he was responsible for setting global brand strategy. Before Intel, Peters spent 11 years in advertising agencies, including Hal Riney & Partners advertising in San Francisco, where he led the launch of the nation’s first true PCS offering for Sprint.
“This is an exciting journey for Microsoft’s mobile business; with Todd’s winning combination of technology and consumer experience, he’s absolutely the right person at the right time as we expand in appeal to a broader audience,” said Pieter Knook, senior vice president of the Mobile Communications Business.
Peters will report to Knook, and his official start date was Monday.
I will interview him about his new role Wednesday and give you an update then.