News

Windows Live Exec Leaves Suddenly

Microsoft Corporate Vice President Martin Taylor, who was a key lieutenant of CEO Steve Ballmer’s and who was at the center of some of Microsoft’s most high-profile efforts, has left the company suddenly.

“Martin Taylor is no longer with Microsoft,” the company said in an update to Taylor’s online corporate biography on Tuesday.

Microsoft appointed Taylor to the position of corporate vice president in March to oversee marketing management for Windows Live Services, MSN.com and the Microsoft Live platform. All three are central to Microsoft’s plans to beef up its Software as a Service (Saas) efforts to compete with search competitors Google and Yahoo! and niche companies like Salesforce.com.

SaaS, or the software-plus-services effort, as Microsoft calls it, achieved an even higher profile within the company last week with the promotion of the company’s internal services champion, Ray Ozzie, to chief software architect. Bill Gates vacated the title as part of his plan to remove himself entirely from day-to-day operations in July 2008.

Prior to his current role, Taylor, a 13-year-veteran of Microsoft, served as general manager of platform strategy. The role included formulating and executing Microsoft’s strategy to slow Linux momentum through such initiatives as its “Get the Facts” anti-Linux campaign. Microsoft also credits Taylor with the Windows Server System business strategy.

Taylor joined Microsoft in 1993 and spent much of his career in sales roles.

There are several signs that the breakup was sudden. Taylor was quoted in a news release Monday about Windows Live Messenger and featured in a long Q&A on Microsoft’s PressPass site about the Windows Live efforts in general.

The New York Times reported in Wednesday’s editions that Taylor had been scheduled to talk to reporters about the Live announcements, but the interviews were handled instead by Adam Sohn, a director in the group reporting to Taylor.

A statement sent by Microsoft to the Times and the Wall Street Journal said, "We've made the difficult decision to part ways with Martin.” The statement said Microsoft does not comment on personnel matters.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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