Microsoft snags Yahoo chief scientist


Raghu Ramakrishnan, who was the top scientist for  several of Yahoo’s key technology efforts, is now a technical fellow with Microsoft’s server and tools unit.

In his six years at Yahoo, Ramakrishnan worked on the company’s search, cloud platform, audience efforts and led the applied science and research teams at Yahoo Labs. Microsoft announced the news, first reported by AllthingsD, on Tuesday.

With his database expertise, Ramakrishan should be an asset for Microsoft’s SQL Server and SQL Azure services efforts.  He, along with Joannes Gehrke, wrote a popular textbook  “Database Management Systems.”

In the past year, tech companies, including Microsoft, IBM, and EMC have rushed to embrace Yahoo-rooted technologies including the Hadoop distributed data file system that underlies a new generation of big data applications.

This is happening as Yahoo as a company, has fallen on hard times. The Sunnyvale-based company  has seen an exodus of key technologists to other Silicon Valley companies which are only too happy to poach that talent. Social networking company Yammer is offering $25,000 bounties for key Yahoo talent who come aboard. Last year, Yahoo Labs chief Prabakar Raghavan left for Google.

Microsoft fields less than two dozen technical fellows selected for what the company calls their technical vision, expertise and leadership. Other Microsoft fellows include operating systems superstar David Cutler  and programming language expert Anders Hjelsberg.

Given the continuing uncertainty at Yahoo, there may be more exits coming.

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