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Windows and Office veteran ejects from Microsoft

Instrument of Seinfeld

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The Microsoft veteran who helped lead development, sales, and marketing on Office and Windows is leaving the company after more than 20 years.

Bill Veghte has "indicated a desire to run a business in a more end-to-end fashion and continue to explore new areas in the broad technology, communication and services sector,s" chief executive Steve Ballmer said Thursday. Veghte leaves the company on January 30.

According to Ballmer, Veghte had been "instrumental in the delivery and launch of Windows 7, helping us reenergize the Windows franchise."

It was Veghte who sold the mysterious Bill-Gates-meets-Jerry-Seinfeld ads as part of a $300m campaign to revive the then Vista tarnished reputation of Microsoft and Windows. The ads left most people simply puzzled.

Veghte had served as senior vice president in Microsoft's Windows division. In that role, he covered business strategy and planning, sales and marketing across Windows, Internet Explorer, and Windows Live, and shared responsibility for OEM sales.

His colleague Steven Sinofsky was named president of the then reorganized Windows group in July 2009, and Microsoft said at the time Veghte would be moving on to a leadership role that would be announced later in the year. It doesn't seem that leadership role materialized and the phrasing of Ballmer's statement suggests Veghte had wanted a more overarching role and may seek a chief executive title outside of Microsoft.

Veghte joined Microsoft in 1990 and helped build the Office franchise from separate application components as an associate product manager. During his time, Veghte also led development of Windows 98, development and marketing for Windows Server, and had led North American sales and services. ®

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