Windows Phone developer lead leaves for Amazon's Kindle team

Windows Phone developer lead leaves for Amazon's Kindle team

Summary: Brandon Watson, head of developer experiences for Windows Phone, is the latest exec to leave the Microsoft's phone unit.

SHARE:

Brandon Watson, known to many Windows Phone developers as head of the WP Developer Experience, is leaving Microsoft for Amazon.

It's not just any job at Amazon, either. Watson is going to be the Director of the Kindle Cross Platform team. There he will be working on the product development roadmap for Kindle apps across all first- and third-party platforms worldwide, including the Windows Phone app and the Windows 8 app.

Watson confirmed his departure via e-mail, telling me  "it was a hard decision, but the opportunity placed in front of me that was too big to pass up."

So far, no replacement for Watson has been appointed. I've asked Microsoft for comment on the company's plans here and have not received word back.

Update: A corporate spokesperson had nothing to share about replacement plans for Watson. He did, however, pass along this statement:

“We can confirm February 6th is Brandon Watson’s last day at Microsoft. Brandon did a great job helping us build a vibrant developer community and we wish him well with his next adventure.”

(I first heard about Watson's departure from WPDev Podcast's Ryan Lowdermilk on Twitter.)

Watson is one of a number of recent departures from the Windows Phone organization.

By the way, Watson isn't the only former Softie working on the Kindle team. Former Windows Corporate Vice President of Strategy Mike Nash is there, too, among others.

Topics: Enterprise Software, Amazon, Software Development, Software, Operating Systems, Mobility, Microsoft, Hardware, CXO, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

53 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: Windows Phone developer leaves for Amazon's Kindle team

    sad to see him go, hopefully he will be replaced by someone equally as energetic. he was a great asset to the wp7 developer community.
    RyanGadz
    • RE: Windows Phone developer leaves for Amazon's Kindle team

      @RyanGadz He couldn't exactly stick around when they play the platform switcheroo. At least his replacement can blame him.
      symbolset
  • RE: Windows Phone developer leaves for Amazon's Kindle team

    I wonder what he, and the others, know about WP that we don't that spurred their decisions to leave.
    anothercanuck
    • That Amazon would give him a position that payed a lot more?

      Hes still going to be building for WP and W8. Certainly no one can be excited by the ios/android development process.
      Johnny Vegas
      • RE: Windows Phone developer leaves for Amazon's Kindle team

        @Johnny Vegas

        98.6% of smartphone buyers might be excited

        lets face it the 1.4% and FALLING market share of winmo was hardly inspiring...................the writing is clearly on the wall for wp.
        DejaVu2
      • RE: Windows Phone developer leaves for Amazon's Kindle team

        @Johnny Vegas

        98.6% of smartphone buyers might be excited

        lets face it the 1.4% and FALLING market share of winmo was hardly inspiring...................the writing is clearly on the wall for wp.
        DejaVu2
      • RE: Windows Phone developer leaves for Amazon's Kindle team

        @garyc2011 ... your facts are a bit out of date... they increased to 1.7% this recent quarter as Blackberry continued to slide, and they are rising with the introduction of Nokia devices to their portfolio.

        Remember, Windows wasn't an immediate success either, and neither was Xbox... but Microsoft, traditionally, has always come into a market as the "underdog" and hacked away at the dominant power until one day the power wakes up and says, "WTF JUST HAPPENED?! I guess nobody cares about me."
        GoodThings2Life
      • RE: Windows Phone developer leaves for Amazon's Kindle team

        @GoodThings2Life<br>
        <br>Too little, too late. Think Zune.<br>

        <br>Remember, Windows wasn't an immediate success either, and neither was Xbox... but Microsoft, traditionally, has always come into a market as the "underdog" and hacked away at the dominant power until one day the power wakes up and says, "WTF JUST HAPPENED?! I guess nobody cares about me." <br>
        dcasali
      • No, GoodThings2Life, Microsoft has not traditionally been underdog

        @Johnny Vegas ... "traditionally, has always come into a market as the "underdog""

        Microsoft has traditionally entertained the narcissistic fantasy that it is an underdog. Microsoft has been the colossus bestriding the technology world since the beginning of time (the early 1990s anyway).

        Imagining oneself as the underdog is a way of excusing poor performance.

        As long as you-know-who is running things, they'd better have a list of excuses at the ready.
        HollywoodDog
      • Underdog in markting, though

        @HollywoodDog, of course MS isn't the underdog in terms of revenue, market share and brand awareness, but for some odd reason they ARE the underdog in marketing, in the sense of brand credibility. And THAT flies in the face of brand loyalty, where they still hold high numbers.

        So just looking at their marketing, one flop after another, no one can deny they're the underdog. And doesn't getting product out all depend on marketing?
        tappette
      • An Underdog by any other name?

        @Johnny Vegas ... allrighty, Wikipedia defines underdog thus:

        Noun
        underdog (plural underdogs)
        1. A competitor thought unlikely to win.
        2. Somebody at a disadvantage.

        I think in current idiomatic English, the second meaning is probably what is most often meant when calling someone or something an underdog.

        Microsoft is not at a disadvantage materially, but only because of the incompetence of the leadership. They could have created the iPod before Apple did, and the iPhone and a lot of other things. There's nothing lacking in the people who do the work there.

        I just can't see the richest most powerful company at the very top (as they were for a long time) being portrayed as being at a disadvantage. They have had every advantage. They've just blown their opportunities.
        HollywoodDog
    • RE: Windows Phone developer leaves for Amazon's Kindle team

      @anothercanuck

      Maybe he knew they'd lose in overtime over a shootout. Sorry, Wings fan here. Couldn't resist, Mr. Canuck.
      TechNickle
    • RE: Windows Phone developer leaves for Amazon's Kindle team

      @anothercanuck If Amazon offered him to be a key player in a new Amazon phone, that might do it.
      Palmtree5
    • RE: Windows Phone developer leaves for Amazon's Kindle team

      @anothercanuck Because it is failing and it is extremely obvious! iOS has the people who want a simple smartphone and Android has those that Want more Flexibility and that doesn't leave much room for an OS that isn't visually appealing enough to even attract first time users.
      slickjim
      • It attracted me!

        @Peter Perry, Android didn't cut it for me; after one year of looking at unsightly arrangements of widgets and icons, none of which seemed to go together, and, in all honesty, absolutely FAKE flexibility (GREAT marketing, though!) I was couldn't wait to try WP7. And au contraire, even my Mac addict wife comments on the beauty of the OS, and how well things are integrated, like the Music tile and Friends tile.
        The only thing that iOS does better, and Android is as bad as WP7 with, is the calender.

        In a scene that could've been out of a commercial, the other day I was in the Paris metro, looking at something on my Lumia 800, and a stranger sitting next me started asking me about the phone and the OS, and I let him use it for a minute and we both got very enthusiastic.
        tappette
    • Money.

      @anothercanuck
      [i]it was a hard decision, but the opportunity placed in front of me that was too big to pass up.[/i]

      It sounds as though he had a choice, that WP7 was continuing on, but sometimes an offer arrises that one can not pass up, career wise, as the challenges and rewards offer better advancement.
      Tim Cook
      • RE: Windows Phone developer leaves for Amazon's Kindle team

        @Mister Spock

        WP7 was/is a dead end since it was CE based. The Win8 team took over as they unify the codebase with modern OS underpinnings going under the new Win8 phones. Its a good thing, but it does leave some redundant programmers. (along with a lot of single core phones that can't *effectively* be upgraded) The reason I'm pretty sure this is the case is too many defections from the Mobile group. Rather than wait on their ship to sink, they jumped and found new ships.
        admiraljkb
    • Brandon just simply took a step up. Good for him!

      @anothercanuck <br><br>I don't think it had anything to do with him being upset or disappointed. He truly did a great job of getting developers excited to develop for WP. He did such a darn good job that he got an offer from Amazon to move up and take a bigger role. I can't blame him and anyone saying he should of stayed is crazy because it's a move up. I'm happy for Brandon. He deserved it.
      SmoothDouglas
    • RE: Windows Phone developer leaves for Amazon's Kindle team

      @dcasali
      Meh.. maybe. But the difference here is that Microsoft actually cares about the phone market. Zune was quickly forgotten once iPods became less popular than iPhones.
      PolymorphicNinja
  • Since WP is a failure and he was the lead for the failure ....

    ... I don't see it as a good acquisition by Amazon.
    wackoae