Ina Fried

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Longtime Microsoft Executive Craig Mundie Cedes Strategy Post, to Retire in 2014

Microsoft has quietly shifted Craig Mundie — its former chief research and strategy officer — to a new, vaguely defined role as “Senior Advisor to the CEO.”

“In this role, he works on key strategic projects within the company, as well as with government and business leaders around the world on technology policy, regulation and standards,” Microsoft said in an updated biography on its corporate Web site.

Most of Mundie’s duties, including oversight of Microsoft Research and other technical strategy responsibilities, will now fall to Eric Rudder, who is the company’s chief technical strategy officer.

The move was announced internally in a Dec. 14 memo from CEO Steve Ballmer, but had not been publicized.

“Over his career, Craig has brought great value to the groups and initiatives he has started and overseen and now brings that wealth of experience to his new role, Ballmer said in the email. “Craig has also been instrumental in building relationships with governments and policymakers around the world.”

Rudder had already taken on some of Mundie’s former duties and, with the latest shift, adds oversight for the research arm as well as the company’s security efforts.

Mundie plans to retire when he turns 65, in 2014, Ballmer said in the memo.

Mundie had held the Chief Research and Strategy Officer title since Bill Gates announced his plan to cease working full-time at Microsoft back in 2006. Gates’s duties were split between Mundie and former Microsoft executive Ray Ozzie, who inherited Gates role as chief software architect.

Rudder, meanwhile, is a longtime Microsoft executive whose past duties include heading the company’s Server and Tools business and, way back when, serving as a technical assistant to Gates.

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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