Charlie Kindel, who left his general manager job on the Windows Phone team last August, is finding plenty of stuff to occupy his time in a post-Microsoft world. He continues to kick around his own startup project, but in the meantime Kindel is lending his support to startup companies. The latest to get his attention is FreePriceAlerts.com, a New Hampshire-based e-commerce upstart that provides customers with price alerts and confirms whether shoppers are getting the best deal.
Why is Kindel working with a startup out of New Hampshire? There’s actually an interesting backstory as Kindel and FreePriceAlerts.com CEO Bob Wilkins have known each other for years. Wilkins actually grew up in Seattle and founded Zones in 1984. In 1994, Wilkins was recruited to work at PC Connection in New Hampshire as executive vice president. But he always kept his connections to Seattle, telling GeekWire that about 30 percent of the $2.7 million the company has raised comes from the Pacific Northwest. Wilkins said he actually met Kindel through one of his water skiing buddies in Seattle.
As to Kindel’s own stealthy company, we’ll just have to stay tuned, he says.
Jerry Yang isn’t the only guy leaving Yahoo. All Things D reports that Yahoo’s Seth Dallaire, who led the company’s midmarket advertising accounts unit, is joining Amazon.com in a new role of vice president of North American sales. Amazon.com has been bolstering its online ad team, so the hiring of an ex-Yahoo sales executive is not a big surprise. Dallaire joined Yahoo in 2009 from Microsoft, where he served as senior director of MSN sales. And he actually worked at Amazon.com as an account manager from 2000 to 2002.
Reuters reported last year that Amazon’s Adzinia ad unit doubled its office space in New York to 60,000 square feet, and the company’s job listings shows a number of openings in that unit. Watch this space. Amazon could do some interesting things in 2012 to take advantage of the massive number of people who visit its Web site each month.
Red Foundry, a mobile app development company with operations in Seattle and Chicago, has named former FeedBurner chief operating officer Steve Olechowski as CEO. Olechowski, who will be based in Chicago, takes over from co-founder Jim Heising. Heising jokes in a blog post that he’s not leaving the company to “join a boy band,” but will focus more deeply on the product direction at Red Foundry.
“Steve’s help is going to allow me to do what I love and what I’m good at— building a product that people love to use, and evangelizing it to the world. I’ll be drawing more pictures, writing more code, blogging, speaking, meeting with more customers, and day-dreaming,” wrote Heising, who remains in the Seattle office.
Microsoft’s Dave Cutler, described as the “father of Windows NT,” has shifted from the Azure team to a new role on the Xbox team. ZDNET’s Mary Jo Foley first reported on the news, writing that Cutler is so well regarded inside the software company that he has “earned the right to do basically whatever he wants at Microsoft.” The company confirmed the move, telling Foley that Cutler is working on projects to advance Xbox from a “game-centric console to a complete home entertainment device.” In addition to Cutler’s new gig, Foley notes that another all-star at Microsoft, Hoi Vo, is now working in ISS Console Development.