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Don Mattrick, president of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment unit, is leaving the company, according to a report over on AllThingsD. Multiple sources close to the situation have confirmed that the high-profile executive is close to snapping up a position at Zynga. The studio is currently struggling against waning consumer business on the web and Facebook while slowly transitioning to mobile. The company has had to work through layoffs and the closure of offices outside its San Francisco headquarters.

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Intel has published a job opportunity on LinkedIn that points the finger out to Windows Phone engineers. Now, this could be nothing, so we'll not speculate on an x86 Windows Phone is definitely on the horizon, but there are straws to be clutched onto. Could we be seeing Intel looking at the mobile platform as a potential investment to tackle? Don't get your hopes up.

So what exactly is Intel looking for in applicants? The company is specifically requesting Windows Phone expertise.

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Nokia has managed to grab one of the good ones, folks! Justin Angel (see previous coverage), who you know recently from his Metro Pandora SDK as well as WP7 apps 'Neurons' and 'United Nations News', has announced that he is going to work for Nokia as their Principal Engineer on Windows Phone 7 developer experience.

Nokia, you have great taste.

Angel has been a big part of the Sliverlight development community and had previously worked for Microsoft. His experience goes deep as he has worked on iHeartRadio, Silverlight Toolkit, Metro Pandora, WP7 Development Best Practices Wiki, Marketplace statistics and the AVG-gate issue.

While his direct, free reign contribution to the Windows Phone community will be sorely missed, this job will allow him to have a huge influence over Nokia Windows Phones. We'll surely all benefit from his skill, dedication and design decisions in the future.

Once again, a huge congratulations to Justin and Nokia--we like where this is going! Follow Justin on Twitter @JustinAngel and see his Metro-themed website here.

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Microsoft appears to be taking sales staff who don't consider Windows Phone as a competitive platform extremely seriously, and rightly so. We ran an article a while back that broke light on Robert McLaws creating a web site that users can report on experiences with carrier (or store) salesmen when enquiring about Windows Phone. Results were far from positive.

Now that HTC are making a big push for WP Mango with the HTC Radar and Titan, it makes sense for Microsoft to really clamp down on biassed sales work. A job opening at Redmond has arisen for a Training Manager in Services and Support. This could well be the first step in the battle against the sales reps, then again I'm sure Mango devices will begin to speak for themselves.

Check out the full job vacancy after the break. 

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We barely have "Mango" out, there is sighting of "Tango" and mentions of Windows Phone 8 aka "Apollo" already. Now, in a job description posted by Microsoft, the Windows Phone is looking to add to their Consumer eXperience (ConX) team. From the job description:

"Want to be part of making Windows Phone 8 a reality? Want to work on a strategic and exciting product targeted at the next version of Windows? Then the Consumer eXperience (ConX) team is the place for you! The Windows Phone team is taking on a huge challenge stirring up the out of box experience for Windows Phone 8 and is committed to building/improving a compelling and dynamic high quality look and feel to our end user experience.This promises to be a volatile world churning within the OS, Phone 8 as well as our AUT (Application Under Test) that we’ll ship in the Windows Marketplace! Our test team needs a few more key folks to compliment the talent already onboard. We are looking for experienced and intelligent engineers to join our team! Join us in our mission to bring the most compelling Windows Phone experience to customers to date!"

We like the mention of "stirring up the out of box experience" but really have no idea what that actually means. Sounds ambitious though and so far the WP team hasn't let us down with these updates and roadmap for the platform. Once again, the end-user experience is the focus here and Microsoft seems to have a good thing going with the Metro UI.

Though we probably won't see "Apollo" aka WP8 till mid-2012, it's pretty exciting to see the gears in motion already. Microsoft really seems to have taken the gloves off for this fight in the mobile arena.

Source: Microsoft Careers; via WMPU; Image credit: Jozef Kocúr

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MobileTechWorld has done some digging and found a recent job posting for Microsoft, specifically for their 'Windows Mobile 7 Communications group' which is seeking to "... bring social networks to life by integrating them into the core experience of the phone".

Now none of this should come as a surprise per se — social networks are the current and next big thing on smartphones.  Combined with what I refer to as "personal GPS" (i.e. not just for driving) and you have a method for near universal awareness of location (i.e. Google Latitude), status (Facebook), thoughts (Twitter) of all you friends, family and colleagues.

What of course is missing currently from Windows Mobile is a way to integrate all that information into "...a single hub on the phone" as his job ad rightly points out. (See this mockup video for what Microsoft probably intends).

It would seem natural for this "social hub" to be combined with Microsoft's future cloud-location-service called "Orion" (you heard it here first), which will provide aGPS services for all future Windows Mobile 7 devices, including extremely fast signal locks via various methods (trilateration, WiFi networks, GPS) in ...the storage platform (Unified Store)" a possible reference to Mesh.  Finally, the team seems to be interested in defining API's for 3rd party services to build off of for seamless fusion with the core Microsoft is providing.

The somewhat bad news is that this seems to be a recent job posting, meaning WM7, at least in this regard, is still behind a bit from being anywhere near finalized. On the other hand, Microsoft seems serious (if not late) in attempting to redefine social interaction on smartphones.  We can't wait.

Read the full job description after the break. 

[MobileTechWolrd via Twitter/UX Evangelist]

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