Amazon Hires Windows Phone Veteran For ‘Secret’ Project

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Move adds to rumours the e-commerce company is planning a smartphone

Amazon has hired a 20-year Microsoft veteran with expertise in mobile platforms, reigniting rumours the e-commerce giant has a smartphone in development.

Charlie Kindel worked for Microsoft from 1990 to 2011, where he led the company’s Windows Media Centre development and Windows Phone developer platform, before moving on to work at two Seattle-area start-ups, according to his LinkedIn profile.

‘Secret’ Amazon role

“You can either blame me or thank me for a large part of ActiveX,” Kindel wrote on his Google+ profile.

The similarity of Kindel’s name to that of Amazon’s Kindle e-reader had some speculating at first that the hire was an April Fool’s Day joke, but Kindel affirmed via Twitter that the hire is “for real”.

Writing on his LinkedIn profile, Kindel said his new role at Amazon is “something secret”.

Charlie_Kindel“I’m building a new team going after a totally new area for Amazon,” Kindel wrote. “I’m hiring cloud and mobile developers and testers, programme managers and product managers.”

He added that at Amazon his role presents “an opportunity to build something new that has ginormous potential”.

Amazon has been thought to be working on a smartphone for some time, building on the success of its low-priced Kindle tablets, with a launch initially rumoured around the time of the Kindle Fire HD’s debut last autumn.

Persistent rumours

Amazon last year hired two other senior Windows Phone managers, and in July was reported to be carrying out testing work with Foxconn, a manufacturer which works with Apple on the iPhone, among other devices.

In November, Amazon was reported to be in advanced negotiations to purchase Texas Instruments’ mobile processor division, and in January Amazon acquired Ivona, which makes speech-recognition technology comparable to the iPhone’s Siri feature.

When asked about the smartphone rumours by US television interviewer Charlie Rose last November, Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos said, “stay tuned.”

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