Microsoft staffing secretive Windows Phone project

A vague job description hints at a group developing a new feature set for Microsoft's phone software

Microsoft is working on a secretive new project in its Windows Phone division, according to a job description it posted over the weekend.

The description, for a software development engineer in test, gives few hints about the project.

"We are a team working on a top secret project inside the Windows Phone division. Our mission...GO BIG! DISRUPT THE MARKET!" the job description reads.

The advertisement says the project involves the first version of a new feature set and the group will complete planning for the features in a month.

"We can't give you many details on this [job description], but I can assure you we have a passionate group of engineers charged and ready to take on the challenge," the ad reads.

The Windows Phone News blog first spotted the ad, which is running on Microsoft's website and on LinkedIn.

One analyst suspected there's not much of a secret behind the job description. "I am going to go out on a limb and guess that the manager who put up this hurried [job description] used a template from early last year before they went public with the Windows Phone 7 UI (in March 2010)," said Al Hilwa, an analyst with IDC.

However, Microsoft could be developing new capabilities that it hopes will set Windows Phone apart from the competition. Microsoft lags behind market leaders Google, Apple and Research In Motion, and some unique new features could help Microsoft expand its market share.

According to comScore, Microsoft's market share in smartphones dipped to 5.8 per cent in May, down from 7.7 per cent in February.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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