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Microsoft Windows Exec Quits

20-year veteran Bill Veghte is leaving Redmond to run his own business.
Long-time Microsoft executive Bill Veghte, who most recently was senior vice president for the company's Windows division, is leaving the company.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer informed staffers of Veghte's departure in an e-mail Thursday.

"Bill has indicated a desire to run a business in a more end-to-end fashion and continue to explore the new areas in the broad technology, communications, and services sectors," wrote Ballmer. Veghte himself did not disclose specific plans.

Ballmer praised Veghte for "helping us reenergize the Windows franchise."

Still, there's talk Veghte felt his role at Microsoft was lessened following a shake up last year that left Steven Sinofsky, another company veteran, as president of the Windows unit.

Windows sales were off 39% in Microsoft's most recently reported fiscal quarter, but the company is hoping the release of Windows 7 late last year will boost sales through 2010. Microsoft reports results for its fiscal second quarter on Jan. 28.

Veghte's departure is the latest in a string of executive resignations at Microsoft. Alex Kochis, who was the director of Microsoft's Genuine Software program, announced his resignation in a New Year's Eve blog post titled "Happy New Year and Goodbye."

Kochis said he intends to continue working to thwart software piracy, but did not disclose any specific plans.

The list of relatively recent defectors from Redmond also includes former CFO Chris Liddell, former data center chief Debra Chrapaty, former Windows head Kevin Johnson, former Windows technical lead Rob Short, and former chief media officer Joanne Bradford.

Liddell last month was named chief financial officer at General Motors. Liddell was replaced as Microsoft's CFO by corporate VP Peter Klein.

Microsoft shares were off .66%, to $30.75, in morning trading Friday.

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