Danny Thorpe quits the Windows Live development team

Danny Thorpe quits the Windows Live development team

Summary: Danny Thorpe, one of the higher-profile hires Microsoft made to its Windows Live team, has decided to leave for greener pastures.Thorpe joined Microsoft from Borland (via a stint at Google).


Danny Thorpe, one of the higher-profile hires Microsoft made to its Windows Live team, has decided to leave for greener pastures.

Danny Thorpe quits the Windows Live development teamThorpe joined Microsoft from Borland (via a stint at Google). He is known as one of the main movers and shakers behind the Borland's Delphi programmnig language. He served as the Chief Scientist for Windows and .Net developer tools at Borland for a year-plus, as well. Thorpe joined Microsoft as a member of the Windows Live dev team in April 2006. Thorpe announced his plans to leave Microsoft, via his blog, on October 5. Thorpe explained:

"I've been approached by startups before, but most are easy to dismiss because they have no funding.  No matter how good the idea, I can't afford to work for IOUs. This one was different. Disruptive ideas, razor sharp team, and recently funded by Kleiner Perkins.  Well that's different.

"As fate would have it, my next gig will be at CoolIris, building browser plugins that are one part eye candy an two parts antimatter disrupter.

"While I will be leaving the Microsoft payroll, I won't be leaving the Windows Live arena. I'm moving from the service producer to the service consumer side of the field. CoolIris will quickly need user logins, address books, photos, and storage, and I will certainly make sure they are aware of Windows Live's service offerings. We should definitely leverage rather than build out infrastructure."

The LiveSide.Net folks note that Thorpe isn't the only recent well-known Windows Live defector. A couple of other search-focused execs -- Bubba Murarka and Erik Selberg -- have left the fold recently as well.

Microsoft has been reticent to share about what's next on the Windows Live platform/development front. Company officials have declined to discuss Microsoft's announcement, expected next month, of a new Windows Live developer toolkit (akin to the Microsoft Facebook toolkit).

I've also had no luck getting the Live dev folks to go on record about how they plan to open up access to more programming interfaces and data; they won't say anything more than what they said six months ago at Mix '07. With Facebook and Google getting all the kudos lately for their API openness, you'd think Microsoft might be a little more forthcoming about what it is doing in this arena...

Topics: Software, CXO, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • What Microsoft is doing?

    Starting over almost daily. The truth is that Microsoft hates the "web" and how it is chipping away at the desktop. Yes they are slowly moving things to the web but only as much as they are forced to.

    Each day they *think* they have something they can live with only to find someone else has gone three steps further and they have to start all over again with a "new plan".
  • Confusion

    I believe the main reason MS doesn???t talk that much about its upcoming services, is because they are being architected in an iterative fashion. This is so because the services are complicated, they have never been done before, and there needs to be coordination among the services so that they can be used in a straightforward manner by developers. If MS keeps announcing services, and aspects of these services (including their names) keep changing while they are being developed, it will cause mass confusion in the media which could become a serious PR problem for MS.
    P. Douglas
  • End of .Net enhancements.

    I have come to understand that a lot of components to Microsoft's Visual development tools were written in Delphi and the article alludes to this. So Danny Thorpe's leaving the Microsoft payroll likely signals the end of .Net at Microsoft

    As I recall .Net code was recently opened up which is another indicator that Microsoft doesn't see in house proprietary tool development as a strategic. This makes sense because there are so many tools for developers that are low or no cost and open source and the Microsoft tools are notoriously bad for following industry standards - OOXML being just one example. Hence it is difficult for companies with quality programs (Baldridge, TQM, ISO 9002) to justify the use of the Microsoft tool sets for new development.

    Additional support for this notion that Microsoft is getting out of the tool business comes in the form of the purchase of Crystal Reports (Business Objects) by SAP and SAP's status as one of if not the largest vendor to Microsoft. Crystal Reports is one of the Microsoft foundation technologies for its Visual Studio product line and unfortunately Microsoft management blew it big time and was going to have to remove it from future versions of studio. Instead its tool competitor IBM got rights to include Crystal Reports in its Rational line. Rational Rose was also one of Microsoft's foundation technology and again IBM now has rights for Rational Rose. So two main stay pilers for Microsoft only developers were not going to be included in future Visual Studio tools.

    On a positive note for Microsoft, Share Point does hold promise.
  • Individual idea, group implementation

    I've been wrestling with the theory that individuals create the idea and groups implement it. It seems that this theory is true. How many startups have a several thousand people that create the idea? NONE!!!

    You can look at every large company and trace it back to an individual or a very small group with an indivisible idea. The idea and implementation are complementary; however, the idea is the foundation and that will never change.

    Those who create the ideas are worth their weight in gold.
  • RE: Danny Thorpe quits the Windows Live development team

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