Don Bradford, an Engineering Manager in charge of Bing's client user experience, has resigned from Microsoft and may be joining Yahoo, according to a tipster of mine close to Microsoft.
Microsoft is confirming that Bradford has left. Yahoo did not respond to my request for comment as to whether Bradford has taken a position there.
Update: Yahoo has confirmed Bradford is joining the company. No word on what his title will be (yet).
The move, if it turns out to be true, is interesting for a few reasons. First, Bradford is a long-time, high-profile Softie who has managed teams inside not just the Bing unit, but also Windows Live, Hotmail and MSN. Since July 2008, Bradford was Engineering Manager (Partner level) for Bing UX (user experience) across the PC, tablet and server, according to his LinkedIn profile. For the previous three-plus years before that, he was a Group Program Manager for Live Search Communities, where he worked on Live Boards, Ratings and Reviews, QnA and search personalization.
(There's an interesting note in his bio about the Windows Live reorg which resulted in his team being left with "less than 1/3 of the original headcount." The Windows Live organization was moved under President Steven Sinofsky in 2006.)
Bradford also was the General Manager on the Live Incubator between 2005 and 2007 -- right after he rejoined Microsoft after a brief stint as Vice President of Development with Scalix. His first job with Microsoft was back in 1995, when Bradford served as General Manager for Macintosh Internet Development.
Microsoft officials wouldn't say when Bradford's last day is/was. All I could get from a spokesperson was, "Yes, Don is leaving. We wish him well in his new endeavors."
My tipster said Bradford will be joining a growing cast of former Softies, many of whom worked for Microsoft's Online Systems Division and its search team. Among the list of former Microsoft managers now at Yahoo are Blake Irving (former Windows Live bigwig), Bill Shaughnessy (former Global Ad Sales guy) and John Metheny (formerly with the Kin team).
Isn't Microsoft supposed to be the one benefiting from Yahoo on the search front (and not vice versa)?
One more interesting note re: Bradford. One of Bradford's emails figuring prominently in the U.S. Department of Justice vs. Microsoft trial. In a February 13, 1998 memo iBradford discussed using Microsoft's Office software as a "club to use on Apple." Kind of funny coming from the former GM of Mac Internet Development, who helped build the Microsoft Mac Business Unit team's presence in the Bay Area....