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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

March 5, 2007 at 4:28 PM

Windows Live VP Blake Irving confirms departure

Irving cleared the air with a memo confirming he is leaving Microsoft in late summer, in part to spend more time with his family in California.

“The timing of my retirement is a combination of business and personal considerations, each being quite positive from my perspective,” he said in the memo that Mary Jo Foley posted a little while ago.

That may be the case for Irving, but I wonder if any other Live bosses will be shuffled in what’s looking like a spring housecleaning.

That would send a message to Wall Street, where Microsoft’s been getting heat for trailing Google in search and online services.

The topic was raised again last week when UBS analyst Heather Bellini shared her research on the poor performance of Microsoft’s Live initiative since its 2005 launch. From InfoWorld’s story last week:

According to UBS, Google’s worldwide search query market share grew from 56 percent to 65 percent between August 2005 and December 2006. At the same time, Microsoft’s declined from 11 percent to 8 percent, even though the company launched its rebranded and revamped Windows Live Search during this period. UBS cited research from comScore Networks for this data.

Irving’s memo suggested that his departure was in the works before Bellini’s report. He said he and Windows boss Kevin Johnson have been discussing a change since the start of the year.

Irving’s responsible for the infrastructure powering Windows Live online services, including the new datacenter the company is building in Eastern Washington.

Investors may be frustrated, but Irving will probably always be adored by the Quincy Chamber of Commerce.

Comments | Topics: Google, Microsoft, Web

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