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If Amazon really wants to launch its own smartphone, it’s going to need some help from people who really know smartphones.

That’s one the explanations for why the company has hired former Windows Phone director Robert Williams as the new director of its App Store, as WPCentral reports.

Williams made the announcement of the move on his LinkedIn and Twitter profiles. A 15-year veteran of Microsoft, Williams led the team responsible for the first version of Windows Ultimate Edition. But Amazon’s real interest in him lies in his experience with Windows Phone, which he ran as director of business development for four years.


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Amazon is bringing Williams on board five months after it hired former Windows Phone developer experience director Brandon Watson to become head of the Kindle’s cross-platform team. And while two clearly doesn’t make a trend, it sure does get people speculating.

While this sort of high-level movement is pretty common in corporate circles, Williams’s defection comes at a particularly interesting time for both Microsoft and Amazon.

For Amazon, his move comes as the company is rumored to be testing its smartphone in Asia, a rumor that feels more true than theoretical.

For Microsoft, the departure means the loss of a key executive ahead of a significant time for the Windows ecosystem. With both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 dropping this fall, Microsoft is going to need all the experienced help it can get. So there’s a very good chance Williams will be sorely missed.

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