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Windows Phone GM leaves to launch start-up

Charlie Kindel, tasked with getting independent developers to create Windows Phone applications, is leaving Microsoft after 21-year career at the software giant.

Microsoft's Charlie Kindel, wakeboarding, in a press photo made available by the company as it introduced him as a key evangelist in 2010 for its new Windows Phone platform.

The chrome-domed exec Microsoft put in charge of rallying independent software developers to its Windows Phone platform is leaving the company to launch his own start-up.

Charlie Kindel, a 21-year veteran of Microsoft, announced his departure on his personal blog and included his going away e-mail sent to his colleagues.

"I'm not yet ready to disclose details about the new venture but I can say I will be staying in the Seattle area to build it," Kindel wrote on his blog. "It has to do with sports, advertising, mobile, social networking, and, of course, the cloud."

Kindel, featured in a CNET series last fall on the behind-the-scenes efforts by Microsoft to bring Windows Phone 7 to market, had the daunting task of courting mobile application developers to Windows Mobile, Microsoft's latest attempt at the market, after being surpassed by Apple and Google. And Microsoft, too, promoted him as a key evangelist for the platform when the company first launched it in 2010, highlighting, among other things, his wakeboarding prowess.

In his note to colleagues, Kindel praised their efforts.

"I may stop using some Microsoft products now that I'm out of here," Kindel wrote. "But not Windows Phone. The BEST product Microsoft has ever built. Do not let up!"

And he joked that many his loyalties would continue even after his departure from Microsoft.

"To my kids: No, just because I don't work at Microsoft anymore you may not use Google. Remember, every time you use Google, a puppy dies," Kindel wrote.