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Microsoft's Raikes To Retire

Jeff Raikes will leave Microsoft next September after 28 years with the company.

Jeff Raikes, one of Microsoft's top executives, will retire next year, the company said Thursday afternoon.

Raikes, who is president of the Microsoft Business Division -- aka the juggernaut behind Office -- joined Microsoft from Apple Computer in 1981. He, after chairman Bill Gates and CEO Steve Ballmer, is probably the company's most publicly prominent executive.

Stephen Elop, formerly COO of Juniper Networks, will take Raikes' spot after a nine-month transition.

Raikes will be officially gone as of September 2008, according to this company post.

This is huge news for Microsoft where Raikes was respected for running an organization that garnered a huge percentage of the company's profits. Office, unlike Windows, was known for shipping pretty much on time, even if it sacrificed features.

Raikes also extended the "Office" franchise beyond desktop productivity applications, adding the SharePoint portal and collaboration capabilities, content management and other heretofore server-oriented technologies to the mix.

When speculation as to Gates' successor flared up, there was a contingent at Microsoft who felt Raikes might be the guy. Instead, Steve Ballmer became CEO and Ray Ozzie succeeded Gates as chief software architect.

Just this week, Raikes presided over the news of Microsoft's billion-dollar-buyout of Fast Search & Transfer, a company that could bolster Microsoft's enterprise search talents.

He also drove the company's very public unified communications push.

About the Author

Barbara Darrow is Industry Editor for Redmond Developer News, Redmond magazine and Redmond Channel Partner. She has covered technology and business issues for 20 years.

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