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Maritz, one time MS number three, to leave company

Sliding gently out of the picture, according to top MS spin doctor

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Microsoft's one-time number three executive, Paul Maritz, is the latest of the high command to decide to leave the company, according to a story in today's Wall Street Journal. Spookily, the story doesn't quote Maritz himself, and the quote from VP public relations Mich Mathews simply says he's staying with the company for "the immediate future," but it's nevertheless clear he's going. Like all long-term Microsoft execs, Maritz is dripping with sufficient dollars to undermine his motivation. But he was also moved to a position of less responsibility in Microsoft's reorganisation in March - this may have been a demotion, but could have been because Maritz himself wanted less responsibility. Maritz was the top executive to testify at the trial earlier this year, and frankly, he didn't have a good one. But if Steve Ballmer, who's running the show at Microsoft these days, wanted to get rid of every exec who'd had a bad trial there'd be precious few left to run the company. Maritz has been officially in charge of Microsoft's developer group since the reorg, but according to the WSJ has been spending more time at his farm in Zimbabwe, and has now decided to drop further out of the picture. He'll be joining a new "technical leadership team" to advise Bill Gates, says Mathews, while the developer group will be run by David Vaskevitch, currently Maritz's deputy. This technical leadership team is an intriguing one though. After the March reorg Microsoft formed a Business Leadership Team allegedly focussing on day-to-day business, i.e. Ballmer's bag. Maritz is/was on this team. Presumably the appearance of a technical team relates to the split between this part of the operation and Bill Gates' blue-skying/visionary role. Will Maritz have difficulty in contributing from Zimbabwe? He'll certainly have to be in the US for some of the time in the near future, as he's not through with trials yet (Sun). And we at The Reg are somewhat concerned about the location of his palatial spread, given that the Zimbabwean government has repeatedly threatened to seize farms without compensation as part of its redistribution programme. But we trust Paul's personal lobbyists are on top of this one. ®

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