Windows Phone developer guru Watson defects for Amazon.com

Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) director of Windows Phone developer experience Brandon Watson has resigned his post to join Amazon.com as director of the Kindle Cross Platform team. In his new role, Watson will oversee development of the digital retailer's Kindle e-reader application roadmap across multiple mobile and desktop platforms, including Windows Phone.

Watson initially confirmed the move via Twitter, subsequently telling ZDNet, "It was a hard decision, but the opportunity placed in front of me that was too big to pass up." Microsoft also confirmed Watson's exit, issuing a statement reading "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."

Watson's exit is the latest Windows Phone executive shakeup in recent months. In December 2011, Microsoft moved then-Windows Phone division president Andrew Lees to a new role within the organization, with corporate vice president of engineering Terry Myerson assuming Windows Phone business development and marketing responsibilities. Three months earlier, Windows Phone Developer Ecosystem general manager Charlie Kindel left Microsoft after 21 years to launch a new company based in the Seattle area. Kindel shifted most of his responsibilities to Windows Phone and Marketplace GM Matt Bencke prior to his departure.

Microsoft continues to struggle to gain a foothold in the U.S. smartphone segment, capturing a market share of just 4.7 percent in December 2011--down from 5.6 percent three months earlier--according to new data issued by digital research firm comScore. Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android continues to lead the competition with U.S. market share of 47.3 percent, followed by Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS at 29.6 percent and Research In Motion's (NASDAQ:RIMM) fading BlackBerry at 16.0 percent.

Sales of e-books to smartphones, tablets and dedicated e-readers are on pace to reach $9.7 billion worldwide by 2016, up from $3.2 billion in 2011, according to a recent forecast issued by Juniper Research. Mobile devices will generate close to 30 percent of all e-book downloads by 2016, Juniper anticipates, crediting increasing tablet penetration as well as the introduction of branded applications like Amazon's Kindle Store and Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iBookstore. While smartphones presently generate the majority of e-book downloads, fueled by manga downloads within the Japanese market, Juniper states that mobile handsets are not a primary reading device in other international regions--however, with storefront operators synchronizing e-book content across multiple devices, users will turn to their phones when their e-readers and tablets are unavailable.

For more:
- read this ZDNet article

Related articles:
Microsoft moves Windows Phone division head Lees to new role
Windows Phone GM Charlie Kindel exits Microsoft 
Rumor Mill: Windows Phone 8, dubbed 'Apollo,' may support NFC, multi-core processors
What developers can expect from Windows Phone Tango--and beyond

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