Microsoft Hires Yahoo Veteran As Live Search’s Chief Scientist

Microsoft’s new search team is starting to look a lot like Yahoo’s old one. In just the latest example, Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) has brought on Jan Pedersen, a Yahoo search veteran, to be chief scientist of Live Search, a spokeswoman confirmed Thursday. Pedersen, who most recently worked at Amazon.com’s a9.com search subsidiary, spent several years as the chief scientist for the search and advertising technology group at Yahoo, according to his website.

From Pedersen’s resume: “co-developed strategy for the search team.” Given Yahoo’s struggles in search these days, maybe that’s not such a great thing to have on your CV. But it obviously didn’t give pause to Microsoft, which is floundering in search even more than Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO). Among ex-Yahoo executives that Microsoft has hired in recent months: Qi Lu as the president of Microsoft’s online services group; Sean Suchter to lead Microsoft’s Silicon Valley Search Technology Center; and Larry Heck, a former vice president of search and advertising sciences at Yahoo Labs.

A Microsoft spokeswoman says that Pedersen started in his new job earlier this week and reports to Harry Shum, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of search-product development. He “will work with the search leadership team on overall strategy, product development and technology roadmap,” the spokeswoman said.

Pedersen has also served as director of search and spidering at Infoseek, as well as chief scientist at Alta Vista. He holds more than 10 patents.

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