Craig Mundie. (Microsoft file photo)

Microsoft this morning confirmed a change of role for Craig Mundie, the longtime Microsoft executive who oversaw the company’s research and long-term technical strategy.

Mundie is now listed as “senior advisor” to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, and will retire in 2014, when he turns 65, according to an internal memo from Ballmer quoted by AllThingsD and confirmed by Microsoft.

An engineer and computer scientist, Mundie focused heavily on the research side of the company. He also served as an ambassador of sorts for Microsoft, taking part in technology and business policy discussions in the U.S. and internationally, and often speaking at college campuses as Gates once did in his Microsoft role.

Inside the company, Mundie has championed initiatives including natural user interfaces, such as the Kinect sensor and voice recognition; and new programming and user interface models for the era of big data and ubiquitous sensors.

Mundie became the company’s chief research and strategy officer when Bill Gates announced plans to transition away from day-to-day duties more than six years ago.

Another longtime Microsoft executive, Eric Rudder, the company’s chief technical strategy officer, is assuming many of Mundie’s duties following the latest changes.

Here’s a video of Mundie from earlier this year showcasing some of Microsoft’s latest research projects and talking about where the company sees technology going.

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Comments

  • ByeByeSoul

    Wow, talk about bringing some back out of cryo-sleep. Eric Rudder was toppled from Server and Tools back around 2005 or so. In fact, he was in some ways one of the first of the respected tech folks to be taken out in the Ballmer regime (http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Windows/Microsofts-Server-and-Tools-Rudderless/). Interestingly he was replaced by Muglia (also respected and also toppled, though he was sent packing).

    Rudder has been out of sight ever since. I’d forgotten about him or that he was even still technically with Microsoft.

    Mundie isn’t a loss. He was always only half there from a company point of view. Nothing of his contributed to revenue so lacked authority in that regard. Some parts like MSR didn’t play well with the rest of the company either. Beyond that, this is the man who a year plus ago said that tablets weren’t a sure thing: that shows how out of touch he is.

    It’s hard to tell if this is going to lead to a reinvigorated and engaged group or if Rudder is being brought back just to be a caretaker. The other thing is that Rudder was sometimes thought of as a possible successor to Ballmer (being of the Gates-esque technical camp as opposed to the Ballmer-esque business camp). Given that possible successors don’t live long around SteveB, that raises a whole other set of questions.

    • ByeByeSoul

      Here’s an NYT story about Rudder as possible successor back in the S&T days. Note this is just five months before he was removed, underscoring how being seen as a possible successor is bad for your career: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/25/technology/25soft.html?_r=0

      • guest

        You really need to move on already.

  • Guest

    Congrats and happy trails to Craig! We’ll miss you.

  • Joe d’Coder

    Yes, not a loss at all. Mundie didn’t contribute a thing to the bottom line. His pronouncements were always incredibly partisan (his comments on Linux, fpr example). He was also a complete political hack which probably explains his longevity in the company.

    Rudder is an order of magnitude improvement over Mundie.

    • LookingForRudderPods

      Unless he’s been neutered and reprogrammed during the 7+ years he’s been gone.

      Cripes, how do we even know that it’s actually the real Eric Rudder. Maybe MSR actually got something right(ish) and he’s a soulless clone in mindless service to Ballmer and Kevin Turner!

    • Bob

      Yup. Mundie’s main contribution over the past decade has been endless excuses for MS repeatedly being upstaged by competitor’s innovations. Not sure Rudder fixes that. Indeed not sure MS doesn’t need to rethink the entire structure and mandate of MSR. But hard to see how a change of leadership can’t be an improvement.

  • Guest

    When is Ballmer finally going? He promised this would be the “most epic year in Microsoft history”. We’re now halfway through and there’s no sign of it whatsoever. Indeed, analysts have been busy slashing estimates for MS’s revenue and profit growth and then turning around and reducing them further. Despite billions spent on product development and billions more on advertising, WP8 hasn’t done much to alter MS’s single digit share in mobile and Windows 8 hasn’t altered MS’s non-existent share in tablets. Surface appears to be DOA and Windows RT along with it. Google has joined Apple in surpassing MS’s market cap. The stock has experienced another significant crash, and it again performed worse than even the indices (incredibly the ninth such result in the past thirteen years).

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