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Raghu Ramakrishnan

Microsoft confirmed today that it has hired Raghu Ramakrishnan, a former Yahoo chief scientist, as a technical fellow in its Server & Tools business. A database specialist and the co-author of one of the field’s most-respected textbooks, he will focus on the emerging area of “big data,” helping to bridge Microsoft’s server and online divisions, the company says.

The news was first reported yesterday by Kara Swisher of Microsoft and Yahoo are partners in Internet search and advertising, and in recent years there have been many executives who have gone from Yahoo to Microsoft, and vice versa.

Ramakrishnan was the chief scientist for three Yahoo divisions over the past five years: audience, cloud platforms and search, and led applied science and research teams at Yahoo. He was previously a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and founded QUIQ, a crowd-sourced question-answering community.

His departure from Yahoo comes at a time of turmoil for that company, which is undergoing major changes under new CEO Scott Thompson. Separately, the head of Yahoo Labs recently departed for Google, according to another AllThingsD report.

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