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Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

April 14, 2008 at 4:23 PM

Microsoft Unlimited Potential Group gets new leader; veteran Poole to retire

Will Poole, Windows veteran, to retire from Microsoft.

Microsoft confirmed rumors reported today that the Unlimited Potential Group — assigned to develop and market Microsoft products for people in emerging economies — is being reorganized. Will Poole, a veteran leader who previously ran the Windows Client business, is leaving his post as co-leader of Unlimited Potential and retiring from the company this fall “to pursue philanthropic and entrepreneurial interests,” Microsoft said in a statement.

Updated after the jump.

5 p.m.: Anoop Gupta, a corporate vice president for technology policy and strategy and education products and solutions, will take over leadership of Unlimited Potential, an effort launched almost exactly a year ago. He will continue to report to Craig Mundie, Microsoft’s chief research and strategy officer and one of the two top executives assuming Bill Gates’ responsibilities at Microsoft.

“This move represents the next step in the evolution of the UPG [Unlimited Potential Group] organization,” Microsoft said in a statement. “The mission of UPG is one that fits naturally with Craig’s charter to develop the long-cycle research, innovation and business incubations that will impact the future of technology — and the role it can play in addressing societal needs in areas like healthcare, education and scientific discovery.

“UPG, likewise, will benefit greatly from Craig and his team’s extensive relationships with leaders in government, industry and academia.”

It’s somewhat surprising that leadership of the group didn’t go to Orlando Ayala, who was sharing responsibility for Unlimited Potential with Poole.

Here’s what Microsoft has in store for Ayala, from the statement:

“Orlando Ayala will be taking on a broader role in [Chief Operating Officer] Kevin Turner’s SMSG [Sales, Marketing and Support Group] organization and still reporting directly to Kevin, but will continue to play a significant role supporting UPG through external evangelism, field engagement and direct input on strategy. In his expanded role, Orlando will also work closely with Jean-Philippe Courtois, President, Microsoft International, and other field leaders to ensure Microsoft is able to leverage growth opportunities and address competitive challenges.”

Poole will work for Mundie during his final months, helping with the UPG transition.

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