GeekWire Podcast: The Shared Orbits of Microsoft and Amazon, and the Future of the Tech Industry in Space


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Many well-known technology leaders have moved from Microsoft to Amazon over the years. So what does he say about the evolution of companies where one of Amazon’s top executives now works at Microsoft?

Former Amazon Web Services Leader Charlie Bell at Microsoft’s new gig is our first topic on this week’s GeekWire podcast, now that he’s been cleared to start in his role, at the head of a new Microsoft cybersecurity engineering organization.

Our guest commentator is a different Charlie with experience in both companies.

Charlie kindel worked for many years as a general manager of Microsoft in areas such as its servers and mobile business, before entering the startup world and ending up at Amazon, where he led mobile payments and created the Alexa Smart Home organization. After working as Director of Product and Technology at home automation company SnapOne, formerly Control4, he is now an independent advisor and consultant for space and satellite startups.

Charlie Kindel.

Bell’s move reflects the changing culture of Microsoft, Kindel says.

“If he had done it 10 years ago, my answer would be completely different, because there is no way he will be happy, there is no way he will feel capable of having positively impact Microsoft’s culture in relation to the way Amazon is run, “he says.” But the reality is that Microsoft has changed a lot during this time. “

Kindel shares his perspective on the evolution of Microsoft and compares the cultures of the two companies with his own examples from different points in their history.

On commercial space exploration, he says it’s imperative that big tech companies now work on their own space initiatives to maintain their relevance going forward. It also addresses skepticism about the value of space companies in an age when there are so many big problems to be solved at home.

“The benefits we are already seeing from investments in space are directly related to helping Earth and solving the planet’s problems,” he said.

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Stories Covered On This Week’s Show:

With Todd Bishop and John Cook from GeekWire. Musical theme by Daniel LK Caldwell. See for more episodes and links to subscribe.


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