Joe Belfiore
Joe Belfiore shares news at MIX10.
Bornc. 1968
Tampa Bay, Florida, United States
Alma materStanford University
Occupation(s)Microsoft Corporate Vice President, Windows and Devices Group
Years active1990–present
SpouseKristina Belfiore

Joe Belfiore is an American business executive who has held various roles at Microsoft since August 1990, mostly in the field of user experience. He is currently the Corporate Vice President in the Experiences and Devices division of Microsoft. A frequent speaker, Belfiore has appeared at many Microsoft conferences, often giving demos on stage.[1] He has also hosted a TED Talk.[2] Belfiore intends to retire from Microsoft early summer 2023.[3]

Early life

Born in Tampa Bay, Florida,[4] Belfiore became enamoured of computers as a child through his experience with a Timex Sinclair 1000 belonging to the father of a fellow kid in his neighborhood.[1] He attended Clearwater Central Catholic High School and graduated in 1986. He then attended Stanford University, graduating with a bachelor's degree in computer science in 1990.[5]

Career at Microsoft

Windows 95, Windows XP and Internet Explorer

Soon after graduation he was hired by Microsoft, and in his first job he worked as Program Manager for OS/2... but this post was short-lived as Microsoft ended its partnership with IBM regarding OS/2. He moved over to the Windows NT team and was responsible for program management of the Windows NT user experience.[6]

In 1993 he moved to the Windows team and became Lead Program Manager for the user interface of "Chicago", a project which would become Windows 95. In that job role, he was one of the key people to introduce the Start Menu, Taskbar and Explorer to Windows.[7] Following this, he worked on user interface for Internet Explorer 3 and Internet Explorer 4, including IE4's Windows integrated shell. Belfiore then became manager for user experience in Windows 2000 and Windows XP,[6] including the engineering and design team that created the Windows XP user interface.[8]

Windows Media Center & Zune

In 2002 Belfiore joined Microsoft's new eHome division as General Manager for eHome user interface, first shipped as Windows XP Media Center Edition.[1] Later becoming vice president of the division,[9] he was also responsible for design, business and marketing of Windows Media Center and related products, including "Media Center Extenders"-- hardware devices that displayed the Media Center experience on TV sets around the home, and the Xbox 360 Media Center Extender.[10] As part of this effort, Belfiore successfully negotiated a deal with US cable companies to enable PCs to consume and broadcast digital TV signals around the home.[11]

In 2008 he became corporate vice president of the Zune division, responsible for the Zune PC client and services.[12][13]

Windows Phone & the "Metro" design language

In February 2009, Belfiore moved over to the Mobile Communications Business division, which was responsible for Windows Mobile. He became Director of Program Management and his team worked on the creation of the Metro user interface in upcoming Windows Phone 7, which had influences from previous Windows Media Center design, and was rolled-out to many other Microsoft products including Xbox 360 and Windows 8.[10]

In addition he led the effort to create Cortana and many other aspects of the platform;[14] he served as the face of the company's Windows Phone efforts.

Belfiore was forced to apologize in 2011 to unhappy Windows Phone 7 users after complaints that updates promised by Belfiore were not rolled out to users.[15]

On October 8, 2017, in response to a Twitter question about Windows Phone, Belfiore broke Microsoft's silence about the platform by saying it will continue to be supported for bug fixes and security only, but no new features or hardware. This clarified Microsoft's position that the platform, then having fallen below 1% market share, is on end of life support amid ongoing rumors of a "Surface Phone"Surface Duo .[16] Media interpreted this tweet as a final confirmation that Windows Phone was "dead".[17] In a second tweet to another user he wrote:

We have tried VERY HARD to incent app devs. Paid money.. wrote apps 4 them.. but volume of users is too low for most companies to invest. :([18]

Windows 10

In the summer of 2013, Belfiore was named the leader of the "PC/Tablet/Phone" vertical within the Operating Systems Group at Microsoft,[19] responsible for delivering Windows 10 on PCs, Tablets and Phones. This group significantly updated the Windows desktop experience, owned and created the Cortana digital assistant,[20] and created the "Continuum" feature set, which enables 2-in-1 PCs (like the Surface) to transform between "PC Mode" and "Tablet Mode";[21] and additionally enables Windows Phone devices to connect to a keyboard, mouse and monitor and work in a PC-like experience. The team was also responsible for apps built-in to Windows 10, including the rewrite of Internet Explorer as Microsoft Edge.[22]

In Fall 2015, after Windows 10 had shipped, Belfiore announced that he would take a 9-month leave of absence from Microsoft to travel around the world with his family aboard the MV World Odyssey.[23] While on this leave of absence, Belfiore was noted for using an iPhone, as well as a Galaxy S7, as two of his primary-use phones.[24] After returning from this leave-of-absence in 2016, Belfiore resumed his work on Windows 10 and, having been influenced by his use of non-Microsoft phones, announced many new features at Build 2017, notably including cross-platform features enabling "Windows PCs to love all your devices"—including iOS and Android phones.[25][26] Going forward from that date, he became responsible for the mobile experiences of Microsoft Edge and Microsoft Launcher.[27]

Microsoft Office

In 2020 it was announced Belfiore will lead the Microsoft Office Experience Group, while still leading the group that involves Microsoft mobile apps for the iOS and Android platforms.[28]

On October 27, 2022, Belfiore announced his retirement from Microsoft, to be effective early summer 2023.[3]

Other ventures

The Game

Belfiore is also known for being the founder of the non-stop 24- to 48-hour treasure hunt The Game, run in the San Francisco Bay and Seattle areas.[29]

At TED 2004 in Monterey, California he delivered a TED Talk on "The Game"[2] where he caused the cell phones of most audience members to ring, leaving them with a trail of clues to solve at the TED conference.

Seattle Sounders ownership

In August 2019, Belfiore and his wife Kristina joined the ownership group of Seattle Sounders FC, a Major League Soccer club.[30]


His work on Windows 10 earned him kudos as Stuff magazine's #16 innovator of the year for 2015[31] and in May 2013, he was recognized by Business Insider as the #10 Best Designer in Technology.[32]

Personal life

Belfiore is married to Kristina Belfiore who also graduated from Stanford in 1990 and worked at Microsoft for 32 years. They live in Bellevue, Washington and have 3 children.[33]


  1. ^ a b c "2 veteran execs at Microsoft work to break down old barriers". The Seattle Times. May 28, 2014.
  2. ^ a b "TED Talk, The Game (Joe Belfiore, 2004)". Vimeo. Retrieved December 2, 2018.
  3. ^ a b "The face of Windows Phone is leaving Microsoft". The Verge. October 27, 2022. Retrieved October 27, 2022.
  4. ^ @joebelfiore (May 10, 2013). "Trivia: I was born & grew up in..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  5. ^ "CCC Alumni Joe Belfiore '86, Microsoft VP, visits CCC". November 29, 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Joe Belfiore Talks Windows XP Media Center Edition". Retrieved October 4, 2016.
  7. ^ US Patent 5757371 "Start Menu and Taskbar"([1]
  8. ^ "Joe Belfiore | Speakers | Channel 9". Archived from the original on November 29, 2020. Retrieved October 14, 2020.
  9. ^ Miller, Michael (October 12, 2005). "Windows 95". PC Magazine. Archived from the original on July 26, 2014. Retrieved February 27, 2012. Joe Belfiore [...] is now general manager of the Windows eHome Division
  10. ^ a b "Microsoft Ignite - Join us November 14–17, 2023". Microsoft Ignite.
  11. ^ "Media Center PCs to Support HD Cable". BetaNews. November 16, 2005. Retrieved October 4, 2016.
  12. ^ Leonhard, Woody (October 21, 2015). "End of an era: Microsoft's Joe Belfiore to take leave of absence". Computerworld.
  13. ^ "Home". Archived from the original on April 19, 2008.
  14. ^ "Microsoft's Joe Belfiore talks Windows Phone design decisions, apps, and updates". May 3, 2014. Retrieved October 4, 2016.
  15. ^ "How Microsoft can get Windows Phone 7 back on track". ZDNet.
  16. ^ "Joe Belfiore breaks Microsoft's silence: Windows 10 Mobile is in maintenance mode, supports users moving to iOS or Android -". October 8, 2017.
  17. ^ "Joe Belfiore admits Windows Phone is dead -- only bug fixes and security updates to come for Windows 10 Mobile". October 9, 2017.
  18. ^ "Microsoft's Joe Belfiore just buried Windows Phone...on Twitter". Mashable. October 9, 2017.
  19. ^ Foley, Mary Jo. "Who's who on Microsoft's new operating systems team | ZDNet". ZDNet. Retrieved October 4, 2016.
  20. ^ Pureinfotech - The Windows Site for Enthusiasts (January 25, 2015), Windows 10 demo by Microsoft's Joe Belfiore, January event in Redmond, Washington, retrieved October 4, 2016
  21. ^ Windows (January 22, 2015), Sneak Peek: Experience Windows 10 for PCs, retrieved October 4, 2016
  22. ^ "Microsoft's Joe Belfiore takes over Internet Explorer app development". November 12, 2013.
  23. ^ "Joe Belfiore will take an extended leave from Microsoft until summer 2016". October 21, 2015. Retrieved October 4, 2016.
  24. ^ Slater-Robins, Max. "The man in charge of Windows design explains why it doesn't matter that he uses an iPhone". Business Insider.
  25. ^ "Transcript of Joe Belfiore's speech at Build 2017" (PDF).[permanent dead link]
  26. ^ "A chief Microsoft engineer explains why Windows 10 is friend, not foe, to Apple and Android". Business Insider. Retrieved July 4, 2017.
  27. ^ "Why Microsoft is splitting up Windows in its latest reorganization". ZDNet.
  28. ^ "Big Microsoft reorg news: Panos Panay to head both Windows client and hardware, Joe Belfiore to Office, Jeff Teper to lead Teams (updated) -". February 5, 2020.
  29. ^ "The Game". The Seattle Times. September 14, 2008.
  30. ^ Evans, Jayda (August 13, 2019). "Russell Wilson, Ciara, Macklemore, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and more join Sounders ownership". The Seattle Times. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  31. ^ "JOE BELFIORE – WINDOWS 10". Archived from the original on October 18, 2016. Retrieved October 15, 2016.
  32. ^ "THE DESIGN 75: The Best Designers In Technology". Business Insider. Retrieved April 6, 2014.
  33. ^ "About Us". November 26, 2015.