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Microsoft Hires Yahoo Search Team Engineer

Microsoft is hiring a member of Yahoo's search team who is considered to be a key engineering asset. Sean Suchter, Yahoo's vice president of search technology, resigned from Yahoo on Wednesday and will join the Microsoft Live Search team.

Suchter will start work at Microsoft's Silicon Valley Search Technology Center on Dec. 22, according to a statement obtained by Mary-Jo Foley and attributed to Satya Nadella, Microsoft's senior vice president of search, portal and advertising.

Suchter's departure from Yahoo was reported on Wednesday by ValleyWag, which published a letter to the Yahoo search team from Tuoc Luong, Yahoo's senior vice president of search worldwide. The letter confirms Suchter's resignation and renews the call for Yahoo to compete against Google in the search advertising market.

ValleyWag's source called the loss of Suchter "the end for Yahoo Search," describing him as a key executive.

"If Microsoft has convinced him to leave and join them, they won't need to buy Yahoo Search," the tipster said.

Suchter's resignation coincidentally comes two days after Yahoo announced that Jerry Yang will be stepping down as Yahoo's CEO. The company has also announced a plan to cut around 1,500 people after experiencing a flat third quarter.

Yang was involved in negotiating a hostile takeover bid for Yahoo begun by Microsoft in late January. Microsoft stepped away from its offer in May, but kept the door open to buying Yahoo's search business.

Yahoo rejected Microsoft's bid to buy just the search business in June. A sale to Microsoft "would leave the company without an independent search business that it views as critical to its strategic future," the company stated in a press release.

Yahoo's stock hit a new low today compared with its 52-week period, closing at $8.95 per share in after-hours trading.

Yesterday, Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer told shareholders that Microsoft was "done" with trying to acquire Yahoo but would consider a search collaboration deal.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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