Ina Fried

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Microsoft’s Top Liaison to PC Makers to Leave Post

The head of Microsoft’s unit responsible for interactions with PC makers is shifting jobs.

Steve Guggenheimer, a longtime Microsoft veteran, will move to a new, unspecified role at the company. Bloomberg quotes a Microsoft spokesman as saying that Guggenheimer would take a sabbatical before taking on the new role.

The move comes just days after Microsoft introduced the Surface tablet, its first effort to compete with its computer-maker partners in the market for Windows computers. A version of the Surface running chips from Nvidia is due to ship around the same time that computer makers release their own Windows 8 machines.

Computer makers are said to have been given only a very limited heads-up on what Microsoft was planning, and sources say many companies are unhappy to find themselves competing against their software provider in the tablet market — one they had hoped would provide a new growth opportunity.

Microsoft said in a statement that the leadership change was “as a result of long term planning,” and was designed to coincide with July 1, the start of Microsoft’s new fiscal year. Nick Parker, who has headed marketing for the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) unit, will move into Guggenheimer’s role as corporate vice president of the division.

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There was a worry before I started this that I was going to burn every bridge I had. But I realize now that there are some bridges that are worth burning.

— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle