Vista: The kiss of death for Microsoft execs

Think Microsoft is happy with Vista? Think again. Numerous top execs involved in its development and launch are no longer at the company, at least in one instance because an exec was put in a position that was certainly a demotion.

The latest casualty is Will Poole, who until the middle of 2007 was responsible for client versions of Windows, Computerworld's Gregg Keizer's reports. Poole is a 12-year veteran of the company.

Keizer quotes analyst Rob Helm of Directions on Microsoft as saying that "With the launch of Vista, there was a new broom. There were a number of people who moved out, or were moved out, of [the] Windows [group] in the wake of Vista. Some of them have decided to move on out of the company."

Poole was clearly given a demotion of sorts after his work on Vista. Analysts note that after Vista, Poole was made head of the the Unlimited Potential group. Never heard of it? No one else has either. Keizer quotes analyst Michael Silver, who covers Microsoft at Gartner Inc., as saying, "When Poole was moved to run the Unlimited Potential group, that didn't sound like a promotion." That's putting it mildly.

Poole joins plenty of other Vista refugees in leaving Microsoft. Jim Allchin, a Microsoft 17-year veteran who oversaw Vista's development and launch retired on the day that Vista debuted, for example.

Others who have left, Keizer notes, are "Michael Sievert, a 2005 hire who led Windows product marketing before and after Vista's release, and Rob Short, a 19-year veteran who headed the Windows Core group."

There's clearly some scapegoating going on. These Microsoft employees, on their own, weren't the cause of Vista woes. The blame lies at the top, and at a culture that some say has gone from lean and mean to slow and bloated.

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Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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