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March 7, 2007 1:01 PM

Microsoft search boss resigning

Posted by Brier Dudley

Christopher Payne, vice president of Microsoft's Live search effort, is resigning to start a company in Seattle.


Christopher Payne

The resignation hasn't been officially announced, but someone in the Live group at Microsoft confirmed the situation, on condition he was identified only as a knowledgeable source

Payne's resignation follows a similar decision Monday by Blake Irving, the vice president in charge of Live's technology platform.

There's a reorganization under way, and additional changes will probably be announced soon.

But my source insisted that Payne and Irving aren't being pushed out because Microsoft's search effort has done poorly in its competition with Google.

"These guys aren't being purged, these two guys are walking away to go do other stuff,'' he said.

Mary Jo Foley floated the possibility of Payne's departure earlier today.

I'm curious to hear what Payne's company will do in Seattle. Apparently it's not search related.

Update: A few details on Payne, from his official Microsoft bio. He's a database guy who helped ship four versions of Access before he left to spend three years at He was vice president of electronics at the retailer and built its video, electronics, software and wireless groups before returning to Microsoft in 2001 to work on .NET.

Update 2: I should mention the Brad Goldberg move as well, since it appears to be part of the Live unit shakeup. Bloomberg reported today that Goldberg is moving from Windows product marketing to head marketing in the search group.

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