Microsoft hires ex-Uber executive to head new consumer apps initiative

Manik Gupta is a consumer app expert that Microsoft requires.

Microsoft has hired Manik Gupta (ex-head of product at Uber) to increase its consumer apps. Gupta, responsible for Microsoft Teams consumer and Skype, will report to Jeff Teper (Microsoft’s head of Microsoft 365 Collaboration).

Gupta worked for Uber for four years, managing the different teams that contribute to Uber’s app. He also managed product management for Google Maps for seven-year. Gupta is a map expert, but that’s not the reason he joined Microsoft. Gupta appears keen to draw on his vast experience in consumer-focused apps.

In an internal memo obtained by the Verge, Teper states that Manik’s experience “will be invaluable to us creating world-class customer experiences across all of Microsoft.” Teper’s memo reveals that Microsoft is determined to get consumers to use Teams and other opportunities for creating apps or communities that are focused on them.

Microsoft has been trying recently to acquire popular communities such as Pinterest, TikTok and Discord. Although each service is unique, they share a common element that Microsoft, other than Xbox, lacks. Microsoft is aware that it requires something similar to the big rivals like Amazon, Google, and Facebook.

Satya Nadella, the Microsoft CEO, seems to be focused on creators and communities and how to best leverage the cloud to create a consumer-oriented app or community. In a Bloomberg interview earlier this year, Nadella stated that “Creation and creation, creation” is the focus of the next ten years.

This shift has been many years in the making for Microsoft. After Microsoft discontinued its Groove Music service and gave up Mixer, it abandoned Microsoft Band, stopped selling Kinect, and finally admitted that Windows Phone was dead. Except for Xbox, Microsoft has had a tough time with consumers, and Microsoft has been trying to alter that over the past few years.

Today’s internal memo by Nadella reveals that Microsoft is refocusing on consumer products. “I want us all to pursue these new opportunities with ambition and a clear vision for the long-term. Our success will depend on building new capabilities to promote a ‘consumer grade’ product ethos.

While Teper’s memo does not mention it directly, Gupta’s position means that he will have to deal with the delicate balance between Teams for consumers, Skype and GroupMe and whether Microsoft will combine all these services into one effort. It seems that Microsoft is increasingly focusing on Teams rather than Skype for consumers. And it’s easy to forget to mention that Microsoft still owns GroupMe.

Windows 11, due to arrive in October, will include Microsoft Teams integration. Teper describes this integration as “one the most important milestones” to delight our users and grow the consumer business.

Here’s Jeff Teper’s complete internal memo, Microsoft 365 Collaboration Head:

Manik Gupta has been appointed Corporate Vice President for Teams Consumer and Skype. Manik Gupta will report directly to my office and assume general management responsibility for our consumer strategy, vision, execution, and implementation. Manik’s experience as Chief Product Officer at Uber, as Director PM for Google Maps and as an investor and advisor of high-growth technology companies in the early stages will prove invaluable to our ability to create world-class experiences for all Microsoft customers. Manik will start officially on August 30th. He will be based out of the Bay Area.

Over the past few years, we have worked together across the company to increase Microsoft Teams’ user base to more than a quarter of a billion. The launch in May of Teams for Life is helping us connect even more people in their daily lives. We have much more to do. Microsoft’s increased investment and progress in consumer experiences – Xbox and Microsoft 365, OneDrive and Edge, Bing, Bing, Edge, and many others – has fueled my enthusiasm. This fall, Microsoft Teams and Windows 11 is a significant milestone for us in delighting users and growing our consumer business.

Manik has joined us to help lead this. Rohit Wad, Rohit’s PM report and Rohit’s engineering reports will take over responsibility for engineering. Rohit was a great driver in the launch of Teams for Life and Skype, and GroupMe. I’m excited for him and his ability to bring our engineering and experience to the next level. Manik, Rohit, and their team will work together across all of Microsoft’s Teams organization to improve our consumer services and make our products more accessible for everyone.


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