Ex-Windows Phone GM Kindel joins Amazon to spearhead 'something secret'
Close to two years after exiting his post as General Manager of Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone Developer Ecosystem program, Charlie Kindel has joined Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) to oversee an undisclosed project.
"I'm building a new team going after a totally new area for Amazon," Kindel writes on his LinkedIn profile, describing the position as director of "something secret." Kindel adds he is currently hiring cloud and mobile developers and testers, program managers and product managers.
Kindel confirmed his new role to GeekWire, explaining "Amazon presented an opportunity to build something new that has ginormous potential. I simply couldn't pass the opportunity up. As a double bonus, the idea that I can work in such a principled and customer focused company is really exciting to me." He said he is unable to divulge any further details about the initiative.
A 21-year Microsoft veteran, Kindel co-founded the company's eHome division and led the launch of the Windows Home Server initiative before taking the reins of the Windows Phone team. Kindel left Microsoft in mid-2011, weeks ahead of the release of the Windows Phone 7.1 operating system update--he soon launched his own startup BizLogr, which built an automated mileage reporting tool called MileLogr. BizLogr co-founder Stefan Negritoiu has assumed the CEO spot following Kindel's exit.
Kindel's decision to join Amazon will no doubt further fuel speculation the digital retail giant is working on its own branded Android smartphone. Rumors of an Amazon smartphone have circulated for months: Citing sources with knowledge of the matter, Bloomberg reported in July 2012 that Amazon tapped Foxconn to develop the device, adding the retailer has assembled a portfolio of patents covering wireless technologies to fend off potential allegations of infringement. A subsequent Verge report added the Amazon smartphone will run the same forked Android variant powering its Kindle Fire tablet.
A smartphone fits squarely within Amazon's larger vision for digital media dominance. Unlike Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), which relies on content from its iTunes digital media storefront and App Store to boost sales of hardware like the iPhone and iPad--and unlike Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), which looks to Android to fuel revenues derived from its core advertising and search services--Amazon depends on affordable hardware to drive sales of e-books, music, movies and related content offerings. Its digital media revenues totaled $6.51 billion during the fourth quarter of 2012, up 8 percent year-over-year, and for the second year in a row, the Kindle Fire HD tablet was the company's best-selling and most-gifted item.
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has strongly hinted Amazon plans to launch additional devices. Speaking to television interviewer Charlie Rose last November, Bezos joked "I agree that there are a bunch of rumors that we might do a phone." After Rose said "Of course, that answer leads us to believe that you are going to do it. You're just waiting for the right opportunity," a laughing Bezos responded "Well, you'll just have to wait and see."
- read this GeekWire article
Windows Phone GM Charlie Kindel exits Microsoft
Rumor Mill: Amazon's Kindle smartphone delayed by production challenges
Amazon's Bezos hints at more devices but won't confirm smartphone rumors
Amazon: E-book sales increased 70 percent in 2012, media revenues up 8 percent in Q4
Amazon acquires text-to-speech firm Ivona to rival Apple's Siri
Amazon challenges iTunes with MP3 Store for Apple's iOS