Microsoft casualties rise as eBay snags big Bing exec

Coming off a rough quarter, Microsoft continues to suffer talent hemorrhages

Steve Ballmer, captain of the S.S. Microsoft, is working hard to assure the world that all is well with his mighty vessel. But with so many top officers jumping ship, it's tough not to suspect that the hull is badly breached and the old girl is taking on water.

Scott Prevost, formerly principal development manager for Microsoft's Bing search engine, is among the most recent top Microsofties to flee Redmond, Wash. Prevost, who joined Microsoft when the company acquired Powerset in 2008, is now the vice president of search market management at eBay.

There's no official word as to why Prevost left Microsoft for eBay. Perhaps the online auctioneer made a high bid that he couldn't refuse, and his departure wasn't over some concern with Microsoft's struggles, including its inability to gain traction in the search game. After all, eBay also hired Dennis DeCoste away from Facebook to help improve its search features, according to the Wall Street Journal, and Facebook's future prospects are looking mighty fine.

However, it's tough to ignore that Microsoft's been bidding farewell to a high number of high-profile employees lately, including:

  • Zune tech luminary J Allard, who left last May and is rumored to be heading to Skype
  • Stephen Elop, past president of the Business Division, including Office, who became CEO of Nokia last September
  • Ray Ozzie, previously the company's chief software architect, who announced his departure last October
  • Matt Miszewsk, former general manager of worldwide government in the Microsoft Dynamics group, who left Redmond in December but has been blocked by Microsoft in joining
  • Bob Muglia, president of the company's Server and Tools Business, who announced his forthcoming resignation this month
  • Brad Brooks, head of Windows marketing to consumers, who announced this month that he is heading to Juniper Networks
  • Dave Thompson, a Microsoft veteran and corporate VP of online services, who announced plans this month to leave with the launch of Office 365
  • Alek Kolcz, principal scientist at Bing who recently has joined Twitter

Why the mass exodus of top-shelf employees? Maybe Microsoft stopped doling out free bagels in the break rooms, though I suspect it has something to do with the company's aforementioned struggles in search or its embarrassing bumbling in the mobile space or its generally less-than-stellar financial numbers.

This story, "Microsoft casualties rise as eBay snags big Bing exec," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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