Another Key Exec Out at Microsoft

Paul Maritz, who was leading Microsoft's efforts to woo developers to its new .NET platform, has announced he is leaving the company for personal reasons.

Maritz, the group vice president of the platforms strategy and developer group has spent 14 years with the company and been a trusted confidant of Chairman Bill Gates. He said he would continue to serve as a consultant to Microsoft.

This is another in a long line of defections from the company including Chief Technology Officer Nathan Myhrvold, Chief Financial Officer Greg Maffei, vice president of the platform and developer group Tod Neilson, Internet executive Pete Higgins, and Senior Vice President Brad Silverberg.

"Paul is truly a leader among leaders, and it has been a privilege to work alongside such an intelligent, wise, honest and wonderful human being for so many years," Microsoft President and CEO Steve Ballmer said in a statement.

Microsoft Vice President Sanjay Parthasarathy, who formerly reported to Maritz, has been appointed to a developer evangelism and business development role, and will report directly to Ballmer. In addition to Parthasarathy's new role, Yuval Neeman will continue as vice president of the developer division, reporting to Group Vice President Jim Allchin.

Maritz was responsible for overall platforms strategy, product planning and business development for the development of Microsoft's tools and related platform technologies. Since joining Microsoft in 1986, Maritz has managed Microsoft Windows and Office, the two most important products the company has ever produced.

But Maritz also was at the heart of one of the most embarrassing moments at Microsoft. During the company's antitrust trial, which is still on going, it was an internal e-mail written by Maritz that suggested Microsoft should "cut off the air supply" of rival Netscape by including its own browser with Windows. The memo was routinely cited as a prime example of Microsoft's aggressive tactics.

Microsoft was ruled a monopoly earlier this year and is currently appealing the case.

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