Kara Swisher

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Exclusive: Yahoo Eyes Ex-Microsoft Exec Blake Irving for Top Product and Tech Job; CTO Balogh to Leave

According to numerous sources, Yahoo has been seriously courting former Microsoft exec Blake Irving to take over as one of its key execs, running its product organization and essentially becoming the Internet “visionary” many think the company lacks.

While it is unclear if Irving has agreed to take the job, sources said Yahoo (YHOO) management was keen on him working there.

A Yahoo spokeswoman declined to comment when BoomTown asked about its discussions with Irving about the job.

I also reached out to Irving, but he has not responded.

It’s unclear what the move means for current CTO and Chief Product Officer Ari Balogh. But sources said Balogh has been involved in the search, and was planning on taking some time off from Yahoo or even quitting soon for personal reasons.

Irving, who was well liked at Microsoft (MSFT), could certainly fill Balogh’s shoes, having run major businesses there for many years in a variety of executive jobs.

He left Microsoft in 2007, as its corporate VP for the Windows Live Platform group, after being there for 15 years to spend some time with his family in California. Irving had always commuted to Microsoft’s Redmond, Wash. headquarters.

According to his Facebook page, Irving now lives in laid-back San Luis Obispo, which is midway between Silicon Valley and Los Angeles.

Sources said after time off, Irving had recently become eager to reengage in the Internet sector.

Yahoo has long wanted to hire Irving, many said. And, if it did manage to nab Irving, the timing would also be fortuitous, since the company is in the midst of launching its massive search and online advertising partnership with Microsoft.

Balogh’s possible parting is one of many among top Yahoo execs recently. Ad sales head Joanne Bradford departed the company to join Demand Media, while longtime tech exec Ash Patel said he would not return from a sabbatical he took last year.

Here is Irving’s bio, from a page still up at Microsoft’s Web site:

Blake Irving left Microsoft in 2007 after 15 years with the company.

In his last role as corporate vice president of the Windows Live Platform group (WLP), Blake Irving led the effort to build and operate the most efficient, global Internet-scale services platform with the broadest and most profitable advertiser and developer ecosystem. In this capacity, Irving was responsible for driving and managing datacenter and technical operations.

Irving joined Microsoft in October 1992 and has served in a variety of development and general management positions. Irving and his teams have been responsible for Microsoft’s first Internet video conferencing and collaboration products, Internet phone, Internet mail client and instant messaging and blogging service. Irving has held development and marketing management roles on the Microsoft® Internet Explorer browser software and Windows® operating system teams.

Before joining Microsoft, Irving held development and marketing management positions at Xerox Corp., Oki Electric Industry Co. Ltd. and Compaq Computer Corp. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from San Diego State University and a master’s degree in business administration from Pepperdine University.


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I’m a giant vat of creative juices.

— David Pogue on why he’s joining Yahoo