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Windows Phone Executive Robert Williams leaves Microsoft for Amazon

Robert Williams

Reports are in that Robert Williams, Windows Phone Executive, has left the software giant and has made the move to Amazon. It seems as though there's an ugly trend starting to appear, but we do hope this is the end of it.

Sounds familiar, right? It was only five months ago when Brandon Watson, Director of Developer Experience for Windows Phone, left Microsoft to work on the Amazon Kindle. Of course, we're not forgetting Charlie Kindel, General Manager of the Windows Phone Developer Ecosystem, who left the company late last year.

It seems everyone is migrating elsewhere and we're beginning to wonder if we'll have a Windows Phone team left. So what's Williams' new role at Amazon? He's only the new Director of the App Store. Sounds rather snazzy, eh? Williams was the Senior Director Business Development in the Windows Phone division, and we expect his hard work and experience will be sorely missed at Redmond.

Robert Williams Amazon Tweet

At least he's still presumably using his Windows Phone if the above tweet is anything to go by. We - of course - wish Williams all the best in the future and look forward to welcoming whoever takes his place at Microsoft.

Source: Win Gadget News; thanks, Chris, for the heads up!

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Reader comments

Windows Phone Executive Robert Williams leaves Microsoft for Amazon

67 Comments

Facebook will soon be the next MySpace with the stock debacle! Most people are beginning to get board and hardly go on FB. If it wasn't for the integration in WP, I never use the app or PC access

More money I am sure... I wish him luck...
 
Just like the ehome team, all broken up :(     (my other fav Microsoft product, Windows Media Center)

Internally people are pissed with the change of vision to WP8, when someone comes in and drops all your work to push their vision people get pissed. In the long run, it's better for a fresh team to come on with the new vision of WP8.

While I definitely don't have any insight to say whether "internally people are pissed" or not but I can easily see it as a case of the orgs getting collapsed and therefore the old team taking a back seat to the Windows team. I'm guessing the Windows Phone Marketplace will get folded into the Microsoft Store. The dev evangelism team (which is basically what Watson and Kindel were a part of) is probably being collased into the seemingly non-existent Windows 8 dev evangelism group. If anything Microsoft should've given those guys larger roles in charge of the Windows 8 (and Phone 8) app ecosystem and maybe they would've stuck around. There was definitely much better outreach for WP7 pre-launch than there is right now for WinRT.
I think it's too soon to know whether the new team will be better than the old team or not. At least some of the other high profile core has stuck around (Belfiore, Myerson, Shum?).

WP7 just didn't sell at numbers that met MS expectations. If you don't meet sales targets, you can expect changes. Windows Phone will have to piggy back on Windows 8 success which means Sinofsky team owns you.

if he was important to microsoft they will never allow him to leave thats for sure
anyway good luck to him
 

Makes me think with the shared platform of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 if there are some redundancies that are being pruned...

who cares if he leaves he getting too old and need more fresh face people age 30 to 45yrs old to give wp new innovation. The ones leaving are useless anyway.

I dare you to say that when you reach that age. You know what they say... Youth is wasted on the young.

Maybe this is why were seeing a new Microsoft because we're getting young blood in the company instead of continuing to stick with the old guard. Of course this statement excludes personnel like J. Allard and Brandon Watson :-D

My prediction is that Microsoft and Amazon are working on a closer partnership. This is just cross training. With everything Microsoft is doing with their ecesystem it would seem foolish to leave such a great co. I personally think it will be very hard if not impossible to release another phone platform with the current competition. This is what RIM does and look at them now. Amazon is going to stick with what they do best, sell merchandise online on every platform.

With Microsoft now owning a part of the Nook business I doubt they are also working with Amazon.

Amazon is tied closely to Java (among other things) so I don't see them switching to a .Net environment anytime soon.

Not to mention this type of "personnel trading' takes place in corporate America all the time. Nothing unusual here. Offer more money, a perceived better situation, equal money and more time off/with family, better benefits or any combination of the above and people bolt. This is business.

Everyone is reading too much into this. We don't have all the information. I'm sure many factors went into this. Wp8 != Wp7. The products are merging closer together, and probably so are the teams. Money, authority, vision, and long term goals are the major factors in choosing a new job/leaving an old one. I wish him the best of luck.

I think what is happening is that the windows team is going to take over once the kernal is ported to the phone. why would they need the 2 teams .

But I believe the trend is irreversible - Windows Phone team will be more like a mobile platform specialist squad under Windows division in the future.

Maybe, but on a poor economy with pc sales lagging, it might be wise to unify and cuts cost now as opposed to waiting like Nokia has done or as I stated above, young blood, new ideas. The old guard tends to live by the, "if it isn't broke, don't fix it". Look at RIM, they thought the BB keyboard phone would be around forever; now there playing catch up even to MS

Lets be real... anyone and everyone on WP team (not on the WinRT/8 team) except Joe B can leave. Charlie and Brandon spent more time twittering and fluffing others than getting CUSTOMERS. Both failed to get mango devices on Verizon and Sprint.
 
Total failure of marketing and product that WP8/Windows8/WinRT will soon fix.

And sometimes people just change jobs to keep their lives interesting or suit other life issues.

Its not young blood but new, innovative thinking that is needed. Young doesn't give you experience and what works and what doesn't.

I'm also becoming more aware that a key factor in WP's eventual success are corporate sales. Working at a major corporate office a few of us have WP, but can't use them because of this exchange security issue. Hopefully that's fixed in WP8 and corporate sales of phones and slates will help push awareness and profits UP.

Yeah I can't get company email on my phone because IT can't encrypt my phone. But the guy I talked to sounds hopeful with WP8.

This is probably the Windows Division continuing to pull rank. Windows Phone was moved into WinDiv from the Entertainment & Devices Division last year, and Sinofsky is probably moving more of his minions into key positions.

I bet M$ has been working everyone like dogs getting wp7 and now wp8 out. And with no place to move up to in the company right now, people are trying to find better work.
I hope he does well there and maybe we'll see him again.

Another Microsoft plant? They have two MSFT alums now in Amazon and one in Nokia :P

Or, MSFT is really locking in their WP design (like Apple) and forcing creativity to leave? As long as they don't mess with the design, that's fine with me.

I suppose WP8 team comes from WinRT team itself, that could be different from wp7 original one. So some people simply are not necessary anymore so they prefer to chance company.

I still do not see an Amazon phone as a threat. Just seeing how much work MS has put into WP and how hard it has been to be a success, and I just do not see Amazon making a wave. The Kindle Fire was a natural extension of the E-Readers and the Tablet market was, and still is, wide open. Smartphones are a different animal.

I surely how we won't have the same problem like hp has with webOS, where most of the team went elsewhere. Microsoft needs to try harder keeping their talents in house.

*If* this guy was responsible for the WP7 Marketplace then it''s Amazon's loss and M$s' gain. But then Amazon have a history of utterly shite search engines so no change for them possibly.
WP Marketplace is a stray dog's faeces ingrained arse, my 3 year old could do better.

Wp7 markeplace will be completely renewed, it will be similar to w8 store. Another reason why this guy could be not necessary anymore.