When chairs fly: Another Microsoft exec jumps ship for Google

“It hasn’t been a good month for Microsoft’s Google-fighters. So bad that one left abruptly last week, and another decided this week to switch teams,” Owen Thomas reports for Business 2.0.

“Vic Gundotra, a general manager for platform evangelism at Microsoft and a 15-year employee, has agreed to join Google after first spending a year working on charitable endeavors, Business 2.0 has learned,” Thomas reports. “‘Mr. Gundotra has resigned from Microsoft (Charts) and entered into an agreement with Google,’ Google spokesman Steve Langdon wrote in an emailed statement. ‘He will not be a Google employee for one year and intends to spend that time on philanthropic pursuits. We are uncertain what precise role he will play when he begins working for Google, but he has a broad range of skills and experience which we believe will be valuable to Google.'”

“Microsoft spokesman Tom Pilla confirmed Gundotra’s departure and says that the executive has a noncompete agreement with Microsoft preventing him from working for a competitor for one year after leaving the company,” Thomas reports.

“Gundotra had been charged with getting developers to write programs that build on top of Microsoft’s desktop software and online services. Most recently he had been working out a strategy to compete with the draw of Google’s newer, Web-based software applications,” Thomas reports. “His departure comes shortly after the abrupt departure of Martin Taylor, a corporate vice president charged countering Google by marketing Microsoft’s Windows Live and MSN services.”

“Among the ex-Microsoft executives and top technical talent now at Google are former Microsoft China head Kai-Fu Lee; Mark Lucovsky, a top engineer whose departure upset Ballmer so much that the CEO allegedly threw a chair across an office; and Adam Bosworth, a former general manager and software expert,” Thomas reports.

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Turd Ferguson” for the heads up.]

MacDailyNews Take: Towels or no towels, like rats from a sinking ship, off the smart ones swim. We can think of worse jobs than being a platform evangelist for Windows… strike that, no we can’t. Today Ballmer’s bald dome could actually turn beet red and then just pop right off like a dandelion. Failing that, at the very least Redmond’s Office Depot is going to be quite happy. Karma can be one serious bitch. Go, Karma!

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Related articles:
Business 2.0’s 50 People Who Matter: Steve Jobs #5; Top 10 Who Don’t Matter: Microsoft’s Ballmer – June 26, 2006
Windows Live head leaves Microsoft less than 24 hours after launch – June 21, 2006
Bill Gates to transition out of a day-to-day role in Microsoft – June 15, 2006
What happens when you combine clips of Young Frankenstein and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer? – June 08, 2006
It must be getting really bad: Microsoft brings back the towels – May 19, 2006
Microsoft suffers from malaise, key defections, Windows Vista struggles, lack of towels – September 16, 2005
Chair hurling Microsoft CEO Ballmer: ‘I’m going to f—ing kill Google’ – September 03, 2005


  1. “Hey Macromancer-I thought you were so turned off by the ads on MDN that you weren’t coming back…”

    You must have me confused with all the other people whining on this website, because I’ve never once said I had an issue with the ads. In fact, I don’t know what people are complaining about.

    If you are going to single out a person like that, best to make sure you have the right guy.

  2. I wish people would lay of Mr. Ballmer with their snide comments. I have met him an find him to be an unselfish, caring, and personable fellow. He deserves our respect for all he has accomplished in his distiguished carrer with Microsoft.

    Oh, and I have some ‘land’ in Florida for sale…..

  3. so if these top guys are leaving Microsoft for Google, does that mean Google will now producing shit software?

    I think these are proud people leaving Microsoft. During the past 5 years, or so, they have learned that previous successes had more to do with Microsoft’s anti-trust violations, than with the quality of their work.

    Stripped of its ability to abuse the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, Microsoft products have been exposed as third rate software. Without Microsoft’s abuse of its monopoly status, its products would have failed miserably.

    Gates’ departure as Chief Software Architect should have come as no surprise. It probably came 7 years too late to stem the tide away from Microsoft.

    The departure of so many high ranking employees, strongly suggests that the problems at Microsoft run very, very deep. Microsoft’s only hope to remain at the top, is to “retire” the top 100 execs (starting with Ballmer), and the entire Board of Directors.

    A new outside Board of Directors, not beholding to Bill Gates, should preside over a true restructuring of Microsoft, and not just another round of musical chairs. Microsoft could acheive this, and remain profitable, by reducing head count (especially in management) by 20%. Its goal should be 3M-like, relatively small, but highly focused work groups, charged with results, and uninterfered with by upper management.

  4. Good to see, but this comment:

    “Failing that, at the very least Redmond’s Office Depot is going to be quite happy.”

    I don’t find much humor in that statement. I
    don’t wish MS employees any ill will. A lot of these folks are trying to feed thier familys just like the rest of us. I wish them all the luck that I would have bestowed upon myself.
    With that said, down with MS! ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”excaim” style=”border:0;” />

  5. I love how everyone that leaves MS needs to do charitable work right away, as if to scrape the taint from their soul. Pretty telling. Interesting too, that so many are leaving MS to go to Google, where their corporate motto is, “Don’t Be Evil”. I guess Microsoft’s corporate motto must be, “Where Do You Want To Be Evil Today?”.

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