Microsoft has appointed Mirko Aksentijevic as its permanent general manager for the UK and Ireland. The move comes as the firm prepares for the launch of its new Windows 10 operating system next month.
Aksentijevic takes over from interim UK head Simon Rayne, who had been filling the GM role following Conor Pierce’s departure to Samsung in December. The new boss’s arrival comes as the manufacturer gears up for the crucial 29th release of the new Windows 10 OS. The build-up to the launch has seen the manufacturer release a limited number of new handsets predominantly targeting the mid to low market segments. There also appear to be no immediate plans to release a new flagship device under the new Lumia branding, a move that has been questioned by a number of industry sources.
The appointment of Aksentijevic is an interesting one as he has mainly held senior positions in developing markets, although he did start his career at Nokia UK. Aksentijevic was working for the manufacturer in Eastern Europe holding the title of vice president of Microsoft Mobile, Russia and CIS. The new GM was with Nokia’s mobile business unit before it was taken over by Microsoft in 2014 and was previously responsible for operations in South America.
The new UK boss will report to Florian Seiche, Microsoft’s VP MMDS, Europe, and will also be part of the Microsoft UK leadership team headed up by Michel Van Der Bel. Speaking about the announcement, Seiche said: ‘Mirko brings extensive experience in business strategy and customer solutions, as well as a proven track record in sales and delivering strong results in complex and challenging environments. His experience with Nokia, combined with his recent work with Microsoft in Russia, extensive sales experience and management skills give him a unique perspective for his new role with us here in the UK. We are excited to have him join the team.’
On his appointment, Aksentijevic, said: ‘I’m excited to be coming back to work in the UK and joining the Microsoft team. A lot has changed in our industry in the seven years since I last worked here. My time in Latin America and most recently in Russia has given me a greater appreciation and understanding of the challenges within our industry. We have exciting times ahead of us and I look forward to working with the team in Microsoft UK.’
Microsoft is setting some significant targets for its new OS – the manufacturer is aiming to mobilise its sizable number of global users into a responsive developer community with the new system. At Mobile World Congress, Greg Sullivan, Microsoft Windows Phone director of public relations, explained what the manufacturer wanted to achieve: ‘There are 1.5 billion Windows users; that is a fact. We will try to make Windows 10 available to as many users as possible and for a limited time for free. Part of the big deal that has changed with Windows 10 is that it is not a disconnected fragment. It is one platform and one developer model that allows the developer to target the wide range of users. People don’t think about the devices in isolation, they think about what they can do with them, that’s what we’re working on with Windows 10.
‘If you look at how business models have evolved, the licensing model isn’t the only way to make money. There are other ways to generate revenue, and in all honesty the percentage of our business reliant on software upgrades isn’t huge. It’s important to bring a high number of people to the platform. We’ve talked about Windows as a service – that’s how we are thinking of Windows 10.’