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Tony Prophet

Microsoft has hired Tony Prophet, a longtime HP exec who oversaw operations in the computer maker’s key Printing and Personal Systems group. Prophet will lead Windows marketing, the Redmond company said this afternoon.

The company said in a statement, “We can confirm Tony Prophet will be joining Microsoft as corporate vice president, Windows Marketing, reporting to Chris Capossela. Tony will focus on growing the Windows ecosystem and enabling our partners to be more successful building on Windows.”

He’s expected to start at Microsoft in early May.

The hire is notable in part because Prophet spent so many years as a Microsoft partner, and brings that perspective and experience to the new job with the Redmond company.

As the new Windows marketing chief, he faces a major challenge as Microsoft grapples with declining sales of Windows PCs and attempts to catch up to Apple and Google in smartphones and tablets, while expanding further into hardware development.

Thom Gruhler, who previously led Windows marketing, will shift to Microsoft’s Applications & Services Group in an unspecified role, according to a report by Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet.

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