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A Telling Defection

As far as technical circles go, Don Ferguson was a made man. An IBM fellow and chief architect in IBM's Software Group, Ferguson was the driving force behind Lotus WebSphere in the 1990s and has been active in the areas of SOA, Web services and, more recently, Web 2.0.

Ferguson had reached a spot at IBM that few relinquish -- the technical equivalent of a Supreme Court appointment. So when Ferguson abruptly jumped ship to join Microsoft to become a technical fellow in Platforms and Strategy, it grabbed our attention. Big time.

What's behind this surprising defection and what might it mean for Microsoft? It's an open question and one that Microsoft is not answering at the moment. But given Ray Ozzie's predilection for openness and loosely coupled systems, and Ferguson's background in the same, it's not wild speculation to think this could impact Microsoft's SOA and Web services strategies -- possibly in a large way.

The unusual steal also brings to mind some great technology defections of years past, whether it's Brad Silverberg bolting from Novell to join Microsoft, or Eric Schmidt quitting Novell to head up Google. What are some of the greatest personnel coups in the technology industry? E-mail me at [email protected].

Posted by Michael Desmond on 03/21/2007 at 1:15 PM

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