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4/2/2008
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Microsoft's Vista Blogger Quits As Redmond Exodus Builds

Nick White, Microsoft's in-house blogger who wrote about Windows Vista, is leaving to join the blog-centric marketing and public relations firm BuzzCorps.

Nick White, Microsoft's in-house blogger who wrote about all things related to the Windows Vista operating system, has resigned. It's the latest in a series of key departures from the software maker.

White revealed the news in -- what else? -- a blog post. "I want to share with you the bittersweet news that I am moving on to a role outside Microsoft," White said in a post Monday.

"It's deflating to know that this constitutes my last post to the Windows Vista team blog," said White, a Vista product manager.

White is leaving Microsoft to join the blog-centric marketing and public relations firm BuzzCorps. He'll be replaced as Microsoft's lead Vista blogger by Windows communications director Christopher Flores.

Over the past several months, White's Vista blog has been a significant primary source for journalists, analysts, and other Microsoft watchers. Microsoft in many instances used the blog to announce major initiatives or product milestones.

Most recently, White trumpeted the arrival of Windows Vista Service Pack 1.

White did not provide a reason for his decision. To be sure, his position could not have been an easy one. White's posts often elicited hundreds of responses from Vista users complaining about the operating system's numerous glitches and quirks.

His departure also raises questions about Microsoft's ability to retain talent in the Web 2.0 world.

Though not a senior executive, White is the sort of young, blogosphere-savvy manager that the company needs more of if it hopes to outrun Google in the race for Web dominance. Such talent would also be required for Microsoft to successfully integrate takeover target Yahoo into its operations.

White's resignation is the latest in a string of key departures at Microsoft.

Joanne Bradford, who was chief media officer for the company's MSN Media Network, resigned last month to join advertising startup Spot Runner. Bradford had also previously served as Microsoft's VP for sales and marketing and as chief media revenue officer.

The company in January confirmed that Rob Short, corporate VP for Windows Core Technology, had quit. Short, a 19-year Microsoft veteran, led the team responsible for designing, developing, and testing core components of the Windows operating system.

Earlier this year, Microsoft Business Division president Jeff Raikes said he would retire in September, to be replaced by former Juniper Networks chief operating officer Stephen Elop.

Microsoft's merger and acquisitions chief Bruce Jaffe stepped down at the end of February.

To boot, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates will give up full-time duties at the company in July.

The departures highlight one of Microsoft's biggest challenges as a mature company: attracting and retaining Silicon Valley's top talent. In its early days, Microsoft could entice recruits with an entrepreneurial environment and stock options that eventually turned secretaries into millionaires.

In 2008, however, it's hot Web 2.0 startups like Flickr and MySpace that can offer those kinds of perks and incentives.

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