Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Vaunted Yahoo Techie Departs for Microsoft (Surprised? Me Neither.)

One of Yahoo’s most respected researchers, Raghu Ramakrishnan, who is the author of one of the most famous database textbooks, “Database Management Systems,” has left the Silicon Valley company to join Microsoft. He was also critical to the development of much of Yahoo’s personalization technology.

Sources said the chief scientist for search and cloud platforms at its Yahoo Labs unit will be a fellow on the software giant’s SQL team.

Ramakrishnan, who has been at Yahoo since 2006, is one of many key researchers to depart before what is expected to be a gutting of the company’s research division in upcoming layoffs and other cuts by new CEO Scott Thompson.

None of this exodus of high-level research talent comes as a surprise. Prabhakar Raghavan, the well-respected head of the Yahoo Labs unit and also recently its head of strategy, has recently left the company to take a job at Google.

Ramakrishnan came to Yahoo from a professorship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. According to his bio from Yahoo, he was the “founder and CTO of QUIQ, a company that pioneered crowd-sourcing, specifically question-answering communities, powering Ask Jeeves’ AnswerPoint as well as customer-support for companies such as Compaq.”

A Yahoo spokesperson declined comment (but, trust me, it is true).


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik