Will Poole, a Microsoft Windows veteran -- and most recently, Corporate Vice President in charge of the company's Unlimited Potential group -- is retiring, according to sources who asked not to be named.
Poole, who has been at Microsoft 12 years, previously was the Senior Vice President in charge of the Windows Client business during Microsoft's development of Windows Vista. (In fact, Poole figured prominently, as of late, in some of the e-mail missives that are part of the Windows-capable class-action lawsuit that's winding its way through the courts.)
In March 2006, Poole was appointed head of a newly created Windows group focused on emerging markets and new form factors. That group became known as the Unlimited Potential Group, and Poole took on co-leadership of that business in 2007, alongside Senior Vice President Orlando Ayala.
I asked Microsoft for comment on when Poole will be leaving and whether Ayala will be taking over the Unlimited Potential team, but didn't get a response.
(If and when I do, I'll update my post.)
Update: Microsoft is confirming Poole is retiring, as of this fall, "to pursue philanthropic and entrepreneurial interests," according to a spokeswoman. Ayala is moving to a new job under Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner "but will continue to play a significant role supporting UPG (Unlimited Potential Group) through external evangelism , field engagement and direct input on strategy."
So who takes over UPG? Former Unified Communications boss Anoop Gupta -- who might just get the award for the longest title at Microsoft: Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Unlimited Potential Group, Education Product Group, Technology Policy and Strategy.
As a result of this "realignment," UPG now falls under Mundie, to whom Gupta reports.
Back to the original story:
"There's been no noise internally yet but it is a done deal," said one source, who asked not to be named, of Poole's departure.
Another source who requested anonymity said that it's not a given that Ayala will end up spearheading the Unlimited Potential unit. (So who would, I wonder... perhaps Craig Mundie, the current Chief Research and Strategy Officer, who has been fond of talking up Microsoft projects aimed at the developing world?)
The Unlimited Potential team is the group behind Windows Starter Edition, FlexGo licensing, StartKey and other products and projects aimed at bringing Microsoft technology to individuals in developing nations. It is also the team working with the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) initiative on determing whether XP will be able to run on XO laptops.
Michael Sievert, the head of Windows product marketing, left Microsoft earlier this year. Veteran Windows architect Rob Short also left Microsoft in recent months.