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Microsoft Exec Jumps Ship

3:45 PM -- It looks like the wheels might be wobbling on the telco software business wagon at Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), where the IT giant's Communications Sector unit has been leaking senior team members of late.

The latest, and biggest, name to go is CTO Michel Burger, the charismatic Frenchman who spearheaded Microsoft's efforts to get carriers to build their service creation strategies around the Connected Services Framework (CSF) and promoted the concept of service mashups. (See Microsoft Tweaks Its Carrier Strategy and New Telco Europe: Quips & Pics.)

Although not yet officially announced by Microsoft, Burger has left the Communications Sector team to join Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) as the mobile operator's head of Now+ service architecture strategy.

Burger isn't the first to go. Earlier this year, Michael O'Hara quit his job as general manager for marketing and industry management of Microsoft's Communications Sector to join the GSM Association (GSMA) as chief marketing officer. (See GSMA Appoints CMO.)

And it seems that Steve Zimba, who was Microsoft's managing director global telecom business, is now VP of marketing and product development at VOIP service provider Cbeyond Communications (Nasdaq: CBEY).

Microsoft had hoped to establish a role at the heart of the major telcos' services strategies with the CSF, its service delivery platform, and its Mediaroom IPTV platform, which has enjoyed some success at carriers such as AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT). (See Mediaroom Hits 2M Subs and IBC: Microsoft Adds Ads to IPTV.)

But the departures from the Communications Sector team don't look good and could spell trouble for at least part of Microsoft's plans to hook into carriers' next-generation services platforms. Light Reading will be delving into the whys and wherefores of these executive moves in the coming days.

– Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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