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September 22, 2010 at 12:26 PM

Microsoft IE vet heads to Google Fremont

After 15 years learning the software business at Microsoft, Chris Wilson was ready for a new school.

The principal program manager on Microsoft’s Internet Explorer team left Microsoft yesterday for a new job as a developer advocate for Google, based at its Fremont office.

“I’ve learned a tremendous amount at Microsoft, learned tons from all the people I worked with,” he said in a phone interview. “I think that it’s time for some different lessons now.”

Wilson’s move comes amid a growing browser war between the companies, but his non-compete agreement with Microsoft prevents him from working on Google’s Chrome browser for a year.

Google will find something for Wilson to do, after he takes a six-week break between jobs.

“What I’m really super passionate about is using the Web platform and building out the Web platform as a whole,” he said. “There’s so much opportunity in what services get offered and how people can tie these things together – that really is not what I’ve been doing.”

Wilson’s going to work with developers all over the place, but he’ll also be part of the company’s effort to step up its work with developers in the Seattle region as well.

The Illinois native came to Seattle more than 15 years ago when his wife went to graduate school at the University of Washington. Wilson, 40, found work on the software team at Spry, working on its “Internet in a Box” product, and joined Microsoft in 1995.

Wilson said the timing was right for his move, now that Internet Explorer 9 is released.

“They’re in a pretty good place, they’ve got a pretty good product with IE9,” he said. “What I really want to focus on in the long-term is how people use the Web platform, both developers and consumers, and I think Google is a really good place to do that.”

(I first learned of Wilson’s move from Mary-Jo Foley, who also noted that Brian Arbogast, Microsoft vice president for mobile services and a 24-year veteran, left the company Aug. 16 after a sabbatical.)

Comments | Topics: chrome, developers, Google

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