Joe Belfiore officially announces his return to Microsoft

Joe Belfiore has today officially announced his return to Microsoft, doing exactly what he was doing before he left on a year sabbatical, but with a few crucial changes. Belfiore is now in charge of making Windows 10 the best it possibly can be for the education sector, and isn't necessarily focused on fixing Windows Mobile anymore.

In an interview with Mashable, Belfiore says his new job evolves around making sure Windows responds to the education market in the best ways it can, as that was something he saw when on his sabbatical that needed improvements.

He now serves as the education sponsor and advocate in the Windows team. There's no title, but his job is to make sure that Microsoft is focusing on and responding to the education audience

The announcement for his returns is timely, as there are rumors that Microsoft will be holding a hardware event in early May, which could also be where Windows 10 Cloud is announced. Windows 10 Cloud looks an awful lot like something that can compete against Chromebooks, and therefore compete in the education market.

And Belfiore thinks Windows 10 is definitely up to the challenge when it comes to competing against Chromebooks thanks to several improvements being made in the Creators Update, such as making the OS take up less space on the hard drive and less memory when in use, allowing costs to come down when making hardware.

Microsoft is yet to announce an upcoming hardware event, but when/if they do, we wouldn't be surprised to see Joe Belfiore take the stage to announce a few new things, especially Windows-related things.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

130 Comments
  • something something mobile, something something doom and gloom
  • mutter mutter apps
  • Moan groan Surface Phone
  • I LOL'd, and yes that mimics 90% of the comments on windows central.
  • Lol Something something darkside, something something (in)complete
  • Finally!!!!
  • If this comment was made by someone else in the comments, a mountain of downvotes would be on them. LOL
  • Oh no!
  • I work in education and Microsoft really has stepped up its game this past year. Their education website is awesome.
  • And the benefits on cost for Microsoft products is awesome for education also 👍
  • Welcome back Joe Belfiore!! Awesome guy.. Great presentations skills. Really, it was his presentation that brought me to Windows Phone somewhat.
  • Yes and he did a great job at windows phone back in the days, so i believe that he can do the same for education and take Chromebook down
  • I hope not. I hope Chromebooks continue to grow and more people buy them as we need choices. 
  • chrome book is going nowhere but up.  
  • Now they need to bring back Roper
  • Like a boss!
  • They need to bring back balmer and ditch Nutella!
  • I disagree greatly with this. Ballmer's vision for Windows was awful. "Universal" wasn't universal. It was "write twice, sell once." Nadella has the right vision for Windows. A truly universal platform. He's just not doing a great job with Mobile. However, I don't think Ballmer would have done any better. We'd be using Windows 9 and it'd be a crappy iteration of Windows 8.
  • At least mobile was gaining traction in some markets,  they were releasing nice devices....etc.  Unversial is maybe NOT the best way?   Apple seems to be doing fine without UNIVERSAL apps, OS etc.   Same with google....In my opinion Universal apps/OS/etc is NOT the right way....and I am not alone since their projected numbers are not even close to what really happened.   How can you have a universal platform with no mobile...They failed.   
  • all i know is, i'm glad we have Windows 10. I was not glad with Windows 8.1. I don't think it was as bad as most people said it was, but Windows 10 is so much better than 8.1. That's all I need to see that Nadella was better than Ballmer. I don't think people remember that its not just mobile that was affected, but every aspect. Windows 10 would not have happened as it did with Ballmer. Like I said, we'd be on Windows 9 and it'd be crappy. So yeah, maybe mobile didn't do as well, but I'd rather have a decent desktop experience than a little bit higher marketshare in phones.
  • I love Roper and would like to see him back. But my guess is Belifore will replace Roper as the presenter for Windows features going forward at events. Based on Belifore's new title within the company; I expect him to present at the May 2nd Event.  
  • Finally!!!! I was just starting to wonder if he was ever going to come back
  • windows phone is officially dead. waiting for a new iPhone flagship in fall. shyte Microsoft
  • iPhone flagship? As opposed to their budget and midrange phones? Lol
  • HAHAHA!
  • Then sod off here troll ****.
    This post isn't even about mobile.
  • it is clearly very related.
  • They are just blind windows wankers, they know the truth but won't admit w10 mobile is dead
  • * Calls someone else wankers, * Wears a fedora... MY SIDES, I CANT LOL
  • Hmmm my phone seems to be working just fine and does everything I need it to
  • same here... for me still the platform of choice for mobile.
  • It's officially dead? Must have missed the Microsoft press release on that one.
  • Depends on your definition of 'dead' i suppose. The goal for microsoft was always to unify all of their devices under one Windows, so the end goal was always to get rid of a compromised Mobile version of the OS, so its not really dead so much as evolving into what it originally was supposed to be anyway... Windows 10
  • Sounds like revisionist history to me. 
  • Seriously? theyve been talking about one Windows forever, a secondary OS was only a stop gap until they could finally get Windows on EVERYTHING. Its not revisionist history, its just facts
  • You use this word "officially." I do not think it means what you think it means.
  • Welcome back:) make some mobile!
  • Welcome back, Mr. Belfiore! Please bring back WP8.1 goodness to Win10Mob!
  • Windows 10 creators update on mobile is pretty solid, even on lower mid range 640XL.
  • Heh..   i can sense the windowsphone circklejerk subreddit imploding  :D
  • Who does hold the title of chief Windows mobile fixer? Do they even turn up to the office? Do they know where the office is?
  • Welcome back Joe. Hope you bring the best for us soon
  • NO, we don't want this guy back. He was instrumental in driving Windows Phone to the point of Life Support
  • He also has an iPhone, not sure how you all support this guy
  • Could you please provide details as to how he was so instrumental?
  • I just got an update 1066 on both my L650 and my L730. I thought it wasn't going to happen until the 25th.
  • That's still an Anniversary update, patch Tuesday build. Creators Update is to be released on production ring on the 25th.
  • Enroll to fast ring on the 730 to get the Creators Update. Otherwise it will be left behind.
  • Nice to see him back, but maybe too little too late for mobile side. Ditching L950 for S8+ as they are taking too long on other flagships and all the OS updates seem to do is add more bugs and make phone less reliable. Battery loses 25%after one hour of surfing and no calls or videos. I like W10 OS, but they are dragging their feet. Part of reason other than app gap for leaving is Samsung, Apple and others at least let you know every year they have something coming along a cycle of sort. And the L950 that was to be the Surface phone in 2015 with no hint at conferences like "Hey, we are working on a new mobile device that will be released soon, but nearly two years now and nothing? Sorry MS, I guess I will wait for the Surface Phone 2 now?
  • Did you not read the article.  He's no longer involved in mobile.
  • Yes I read the article. He is a good communicator for the platform. I was hoping when he got back he would go into Mobile. Oh well. I think he will do good in education. Too bad One Note wasn't around in the 80's would have made school a bit easier to manage😜👍.
  • Boy, that was a quick visit to Alpha Centauri!
  • I don't think he made it that far. He saw the signs for Ceti Alpha 5 and hauled a$$ home.
  • Is it too little too late?  Every school that I've ever been to is loaded with Macs - kids don't even learn on Windows anymore.  Maybe they are targeting other markets but this is one area where Apple was extremely intelligent and forward-thinking on.  These schools are so invested in Apple products that a change would be absolutely impossible. 
  • Most of them have Chromebooks. Some have Windows. Few have Macs, way too expensive for the education sector.
  • Maybe in the US, I don't think Chromebooks are that popular in the UK Schools right now compared to the US and Macs are way too expensive for most state schools in the UK - Some of them can barely afford enough pencils and books
  • I've not seen any Chromebooks in my niece's and nephew's schools.  They mainly use ipads and Windows PC's.
  • How many schools have you been to? I work for one of the largest school districts in the US (FL) and there is only one school that has chrome books. Additionally we just migrated to O365 even though we have Google suit. Microsoft is doing the right thing in focusing on education. Additionally we only have Macs in specialized areas (very few).  Also something to know about schools. While the classroom may run in some cases on a chroombook the district (business side) runs on Windows. As a Microsoft software user my delight factor in MS has gone up 100% over the last 2 years even though sadly my WMobile had struggled. I have moved to a device agnostic mentality as what v is important to me is having all Windows software working regardless of my device. 
  • Maine and Ohio.  Maybe it's a coincidence but every school my children went/go to is filled with them.  Actually, every child has a Macbook provided by the school - my children included.
  • what friggin' school do your kids go to that they're given macbooks? that's the first i've ever heard about that. ipads i've heard of. chromebooks i've heard of. but macbooks? they're ridiculously expensive for schools. my guess is this has to be a private school that you're paying for that macbook in the cost OR your district has *no* idea how to utilize funds and you should seriously complain at the next school board meeting. because that's a waste of your tax dollars.
  • Talk about jumping to conclusions!  This really isn't the forum to debate taxation and local budgets.  However, my understanding is that the state of Maine (and obviously many other places as well) wanted to update technology at their schools.  So, they asked for bids from manufacturers to supply schools with updated computers, Apple won the bid.  My guess is that it was in everyone's best interest to get new technology in the hands of staff and students and also in the best interest of Apple to get young students used to using the Mac OS.  In Ohio, not only did every teacher have a Mac, they had a Mac room instead of a computer room.  On top of this, most classes had Apple Smartboards (I think they were called).  So, again, not as isolated an incident as many are making it seem but maybe not as widespread as I was thinking. Maybe Microsoft will take a loss and try to do the same thing to get students or keep students using Windows.
  • My wife works for  one of the largest ISD's in TX, and they moved over to O365 too. Honestly, I just hope it is successful and that it flows over to mobile.
  • Hm, I stand corrected then.  I honestly thought the education sector using Apple products was much more widespread.  I guess it's just a matter of where I've lived.
  • Not necessarily. her school district does have ipads at each of the schools, and supposedly plans to add to the number of ipads.
  • Maybe in the US. The rest of the planet is using Windows.
  • In Finland: Windows & Office 365
  • Who's fixing windows mobile then?
  • Nobody, thank god, theyre bringing Windows 10 to mobile instead. No more of these garbage gimped mobile OS' the goal was always one unified Windows and they now have the ability to achieve that, dont bother yourself with a Mobile OS
  • Exactly how is it gimped?  To me the app support is it's biggest problem.
  • Because Mobile OS' are gimped by nature. Go plug your phone into a dock and run desktop programs on a monitor... cant? Gimped
  • That's not what they are currently designed for, though, it's just what they're headed towards. A mobile OS's purpose isn't yet to run full desktop apps because the demand isn't there *yet*, so they don't. That's not being 'gimped', it's meeting the current needs of the market.
  • Glad to have him back. Hell windows, but his speeches are awesome
  • Kind of surprised. No mobile? This is worrying. Is anyone doing mobile anymore? Disappointed.
  • Id be disappointed if someone was working on anything more than maintenance and security updates for a Mobile OS when they are within reach of Windows 10 on Mobile, their biggest mistake was calling a Phone OS Windows 10... because it wasnt, it was still Windows Phone OS
  • you know, you bring up a good point. When Windows 10 was first released, the phones were simply going to run "Windows 10." They made a big deal about how they're dropping "phone" from the name, etc etc etc. Even the ad pages for the Lumia 950s had just "Windows 10" on them at first. At some point, they quietly changed it to "Windows 10 Mobile."
    In any case, as much as their vision of Windows 10 on a phone is a pretty awesome vision, they can't take their sweet time with it. They need to give folks an idea of what they're doing, otherwise they're going to stop listening. Even if its a year away, they need to do or say something.
  • "education sponsor and advocate" That's a far place to fall. From Veep to Cheerleader. 
  • Hey, if I took a year off at my job, I would be demoted to "former employee"
  • Lol
  • Sucks for Mobile, but important focus for Microsoft, as Google is taking that sector. It is very important for Microsoft to not lose it, and be competitive there. Possibly he will need ensure that Windows 10 Cloud is a strong competitor to Chromebooks.
  • Hmm guess all the people that claimed he wouldn't come back were wrong.
  • Yeah Joe is easily recognizable. He's the dude with the bad haircut sporting the iPhone.
  • Seriously!!!!! Get a windows phone, and a hair cut.
  • Haircut yes, majorily gay.  But get a windows phone? Why on earth would he? 
  • Why get a Windows Phone? Maybe because he's the ftard in charge of Windows Phone. If he doesn't use it then why should anyone? And, if thats the case, why is MS waisting time and money on mobile? Which I guess they kind of did.
  • Is he in charge of it?  Doesn't seem like it to me... 
  • Too little too late.
  • He looks a bit refreshed.... like he's had a bit of work done (heh heh)
  • Erm, I believe that is an old photo from before he left.
  • Since he will foucs on the eduction sector and never look back to mobile, it is inappropriate to say "doing exactly what he was doing before he left on a year sabbatical"
  • His first line of action should be to tell this idiot CEO to "get the **** out of the way".
  • Idiot CEO... lol, how are you people actually able to convince yourselves of such and obviously garbage opinion?
  • easy....it's not garbage....and it's true. NEXT.
  • Lol, trolls gonna troll
  • How is that trolling? Do you even know what that means? Everything is going in the wrong direction with this CEO and has been one big money grab. Referencing that, isnt trolling. Sorry you are confused.
  • Lol, trolls gonna troll
  • Yes, yes you will.
  • "everything"? You mean "only mobile." Even then, we aren't 100% certain what their goals are for mobile just yet, so you really can't say one way or the other. You can say he's a bad communicator for not managing expectations, but that's about it, at least for now.
  • The past decade has shown that mobile is everything.