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Amazon Hires Windows Phone Exec, Fueling Smartphone Rumors

Robert Williams, most recently the senior director of business development for Microsoft's Windows Phone unit, has left Redmond to join Amazon.com.

As Windows Gadget News noted, Williams announced his move in a Tweet on Tuesday that said he was "at work" in Amazon. His new role is that of director of Amazon's Appstore, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Williams' exit is the latest in a string of executive departures from the Windows Phone division. Charlie Kindel, the former general manager of Windows Phone Developer Experience, left the company last August for a startup. Earlier this year, Gavin Kim left his position of Windows Phone marketing general manager after just five months to join a mobile security company.

Two other executives -- former Windows Phone President Andy Lees and former Windows Phone Developer and Marketplace General Manager Matt Bencke -- left the Windows Phone division within the last year for different roles at Microsoft.

And in February, Brandon Watson, previously the head of Windows Phone Developer Experience, also left Microsoft to join Amazon as director of the Kindle Cross Platform team.

Williams' hiring has added fuel to rumors that Amazon is developing its own smartphone device. A recent Bloomberg report, citing anonymous sources, said that Amazon is collaborating with China-based mobile device manufacturer Foxconn on the smartphones. The Wall Street Journal doubled up on the rumors on Wednesday, when it reported than Amazon is currently testing a smartphone device that features a four- to five-inch screen.

"Officials at some of Amazon's parts suppliers, who declined to be named, said the Seattle-based company is testing a smartphone and mass production of the new device may start late this year or early next year," the WSJ said.

Besides working within various mobile device units at Microsoft, Williams -- a 13-year Microsoft veteran -- also served as the product unit manager for the Windows Vista Ultimate team.

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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