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Christopher Payne, the Microsoft corporate VP responsible for Windows Live Search, is leaving to start his own business in Seattle amid concerns about the unit’s performance, according to various media reports; no confirmation so far from Microsoft publicly or from Payne. Earlier this week, Microsoft confirmed that Blake Irving, corporate vice president of the Windows Live Platform Group is retiring is retiring this summer he had been commuting weekly from California for the past six years.
Seattle PI: Payne “plans to launch a Seattle-based technology firm unrelated to the search business, a person familiar with the situation confirmed Wednesday. … Under Payne’s leadership, Microsoft’s search site has lost market share since the company launched its own homegrown search in early 2005, attempting to challenge Google. However, the person described Payne’s departure as a ‘personal decision’ that he made “to go off and do something entrepreneurial.'”
Bloomberg: Other changes at Live include:
— the shift of Brad Goldberg from GM of the Windows product management group to head of marketing for Live Search, reporting to former ASK CEO Steve Berkowitz.
— the promotion of Eric Hadley, formerly a GM for the internet ad business, to promote MSN.
— Brian Hall, who was in the consumer anti-virus product group, will run marketing for all Windows Live non-search-engine internet services and the company’s mobile internet services.