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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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