Microsoft loses key Windows Phone personnel to Amazon

Microsoft has suffered another key personnel defection, with former Windows Phone business development boss Robert Williams leaving the Redmond-based company and heading to online shopping behemoth and potential mobile market rival, Amazon.

Williams recently tweeted that he was "At work (Checked in at Amazon.com)" and added a further element of intrigue to Amazon's rumoured entry to the smartphone market by updating his biography to say that he is "working on a top secret project." His LinkedIn profile confirms the shift, with his current job being listed as Amazon's App Store Director. Williams was a long-serving Microsoft employee, having resided with the company for 15 years.

Of course, Amazon's development of a smartphone is arguably the tech industry's least privileged secret, and Williams' ship-jump is the latest bit of high level immigration welcomed by the e-commerce giant. Does it all but confirm its handset intentions as well?

At the start of 2012, Microsoft's mobile phone posse lost Brandon Watson to Amazon. Watson was one of Windows Phone's most ardent supporters and had been head of developer experience. He is now an Amazon product management director focused on Kindle software integration.

Earlier this week, credible new reports emerged stating that Amazon is in fact already testing a smartphone with a display of 4-5in out in Asia, in conjunction with manufacturing partner Foxconn International.

The latest addition to the Kindle device range was predicted to carry a production cost of around £100 and comes as eager UK consumers continue to speculate over when they will be able to get their hands on a Kindle Fire tablet.