Confirmed: Blake Irving to leave Microsoft by late summer

Blake Irving closing the Yahoo dealWe reported last week that rumors were floating around about Blake Irving’s potential retirement from Microsoft.  Now, Mary Jo Foley brings us a memo from the Live team, confirming that Blake Irving, Corporate VP for Windows Live, will be leaving late this summer.

Irving has done a ton to drive Microsoft’s online initiative forward in his time there.  Blake (seen on the left) closed a deal with Yahoo! in 2006 to have interoperability between Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger, a landmark event in the IM space.

We are sad to see him go, being such a large source of inspiration in the division, but we wish him the best luck with whatever awaits him in the future.

Check out the memo after the jump.  (via Mary Jo Foley)



March 5, 2007

Hey folks, I’ve been hearing rumors with increasing frequency about my “impending” retirement, so I expect there’s a good chance you’re hearing them too. In fact, as I wrote this note, I saw two articles in the press adding grist to the rumor mill. I’ve never been a fan of rumor mills, nor have I liked to be the fodder for them, so I am going to blunt this one right now. Bear in mind there are a couple of ways to blunt a rumor. One of which is confirming truth. Which is the subject of this mail.

After nearly 15 years at Microsoft and 6 years of weekly commuting from California, I am retiring. I’ve been talking to Kevin Johnson about this since the beginning of the year, and we’ve been working on a plan that will ensure a seamless transition that we hope will build even better business and technical synergy for Windows Live and MSN. I’m not leaving right away, so I guess “impending” isn’t really true. I won’t be leaving until late summer. The timing of my retirement is a combination of business and personal considerations, each being quite positive from my perspective.

From a business perspective, I’m confident that the great work we’ve amassed in developing the Windows Live Platform has significant momentum and is on a very positive trajectory. This momentum and trajectory is self fulfilling now, and doesn’t need me to fuel it. Our platform efforts in every group (monetization and ad platform, developer and communications, care and safety, and foundation services) have the critical mass and momentum that I know will make them unstoppable. You and your teams are the reason for my confidence here. With your vision, customer focus, and resolute perseverance, I can make my exit, confident that the work we’ve started together will be seen through to the end.

…You’ve read your fair share of mails announcing that someone plans to “spend more time with family” and probably now read it as code for something completely different. Well, having commuted 1,000 miles to work every week these last 6 years, it really does mean “spending time with family” or for that matter “spending time in the same city with my family”.

This is bitter sweet of course, as I inevitably knew it would be. I have worked with brilliant, passionate, energetic people across the company, and I don’t think that can be replicated anywhere in the world. I will sorely miss that, but as I look back on my nearly 15 years with Microsoft, I am so proud of the work we’ve done together. I’ve seen us transform from a software business to an advertising and services business, and I’ve seen each of you on this XD grow into exceptional leaders. It’s been a great privilege, indeed, to lead this team and learn from you, and I want to assure you that Kevin Johnson and I will work to make my retirement as seamless an experience as possible for you and your teams.