Microsoft turns its attention to education for Surface and Windows

Microsoft looks like it’ll be going after the eduction sector with the next Windows 10 and Surface releases. The software maker announced a hardware and software event for May 2nd yesterday, with the hashtag #MicrosoftEDU. That’s no coincidence. In a carefully orchestrated return to the public eye, Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore started tweeting again and spoke to Mashable about his new role after taking a year out from Microsoft. Belfiore’s year-long break involved heading out to sea with his family on a worldwide trip, and he returned to work late last year.

Belfiore’s silence since his return has puzzled Windows Phone fans, as he has often been considered the face of Microsoft’s mobile efforts. He has a new role inside Microsoft now, but the software maker won’t reveal exactly what it is. In an interview with Mashable, Belfiore is referred to as “education sponsor and advocate in the Windows team” without an official title. He’s reportedly tasked with helping Microsoft focus a response to the education audience.

ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley claims Belfiore’s new job is actually the head of a new Windows Engagement Team, reporting directly to Windows chief Terry Myerson. That sounds a lot more believable than a mysterious job without a title. Either way, it’s clear Belfiore is now partly focused on education at Microsoft. Belfiore’s Mashable interview appeared just a day before Microsoft announced its education event, and it includes a lot of references to Chrome and Chromebooks.

Joe Belfiore

Joe Belfiore

Belfiore is asked whether Microsoft will make a thin-client Windows to compete with Chrome OS. “If you mean an OS that doesn’t run rich Windows apps, then no,” he responds. Mashable makes no mention of Windows 10 Cloud, a variant of Microsoft’s operating system that started leaking recently. Windows 10 Cloud is designed to take on alternatives like…

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