Amazon Hires Microsoft Phone Veteran, Rekindling Smartphone Rumors
Amazon has long been rumored to be working on a smartphone. Now, Microsoft phone expert Charlie Kindel has been hired to do "something secret."Amazon.com is rumored, again, to be working on a smartphone. The bookseller-turned-retail giant-turned-tablet and e-reader maker has hired Charlie Kindel, a 20-year Microsoft veteran and one-time general manager of the software company's Windows Phone Developer Experience. Kindel left in 2011 to form BizLogr, a startup that creates software products "based on doing big-data analysis of calendar information," according to the company's Website. That Kindel's name is so closely aligned to Amazon's best-selling product—the Kindle Fire tablet—makes the news seem a possible April Fool's prank, and Kindel, on his personal blog, played into this idea. "Building on the success of the Amazon Kindle Fire, Charlie Kindel today is announcing that he has taken on a full-time role at the software and retail giant to build the Amazon Kindle Charlie. [It] will be Amazon's entry into the hotly contested home server market," Kindel wrote in an April 1 faux press release with the preface: "Part of the following is true."
Amazon's vision is to be Earth's most customer-centric company. I've long been a huge fan, and I'm jazzed about the idea of working in an environment where the first principle is to start with the customer and work backwards. I get to build a new team in going after a totally new area for Amazon. I'm particularly excited about all [the] hiring I need to do for cloud and mobile developers and testers, program managers and product managers.A version of that last sentence was also added to Kindel's updated LinkedIn profile, according to CNBC, which added that Kindel described his new role at Amazon only as "something secret." In July 2012, Bloomberg reported that Amazon was working with Chinese manufacturer Foxconn and was acquiring the necessary patents to proceed. Seemingly toward that end, Amazon had also hired Matt Gordon, the former senior director of acquisitions at Intellectual Ventures Management. Amazon has already proven that it can be a technology disruptor. It entered the tablet market in late 2011 and instantly jumped to the near top of the rankings, inserting itself between first-place Apple and suddenly third-place Samsung. Its aggressive sales were short-lived, however, and by the first quarter of 2012, Samsung had taken back its second-place position. The tablet market was a very different animal back then, however, and since then, Amazon has also evolved. It has also worked on growing out a critical component of the smartphone ecosystem—an applications store. It opened the Amazon Appstore in March 2011 and now has hundreds of thousands of applications. It's not a stretch to think Amazon might be able to sell a smartphone that complements its Kindle Fire tablet experience. Follow Michelle Maisto on Twitter.