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Microsoft Takes On Two Former Lotus Stars

The Microsoft Exchange team has brought aboard two highly respected developers known for their expertise in collaboration software.

The Microsoft Exchange team has brought aboard two highly respected developers known for their expertise in collaboration software.

Julio Estrada, a former star at Lotus Development who went on to launch Kubi Software, has joined the Exchange Server team, industry sources said.

Also joining Microsoft is Bob Congdon, who was at IBM until recently. Congdon's Web log, updated July 29, indicates that he has left IBM for Microsoft. At IBM, Congdon most recently worked on WorkPlace Designer. In the early days of Notes, he was at Lotus subsidiary Iris Associates, where he worked on Lotus Domino Web Server.

Sources close to IBM said Congdon and Estrada qualify as "star developers" and are major pickups for Microsoft. Estrada was lead developer on Domino Web Server and did important work on QuickPlace, a product for workgroups that need an easy way to build ad hoc workplaces. Kubi Software, Lincoln, Mass., also specializes in collaboration software. Mussie Shore, another former Notes luminary, remains at Kubi as vice president of product management and design. Mark Rankovic is now listed as CEO.

A Microsoft spokeswoman confirmed that Estrada and Congdon are aboard, Estrada as an Exchange Server software architect and Congdon as Exchange design engineer.

Earlier this year, Microsoft completed its acquisition of Groove Networks and brought its founder, Lotus Notes pioneer Ray Ozzie, aboard as a CTO.

Microsoft Exchange Server has gone through a number of permutations in the last few years. It was initially pitched not only for e-mail but also as a platform for collaborative applications that could take on Lotus Notes, which later became Domino. Exchange then morphed into straight e-mail, with much of the collaboration functionality moving to SharePoint Portal Server and SharePoint Portal Services within Windows Server.

Microsoft seems to be trying to boost Exchange Server's profile both inside and outside of company under vice president Dave Thompson, who took the reins late last year.

Editor's note: this story was updated Wednesday afternoon with Microsoft confirmation of the personnel moves and more information on Kubi Software's current executive lineup.

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