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Commentary: Microsoft has talent to spare to replace veteran

The retirement of Paul Maritz from the software giant was expected, will have little impact on operations or direction, and it is not viewed as a bellwether of an accelerated brain drain.

The retirement of Paul Maritz from Microsoft was expected, and will have little impact on Microsoft's operations or direction. Nor is it a bellwether for an acceleration of the brain drain at Redmond.

See news story:
Microsoft loses another key executive

Maritz, a 14-year veteran of the software giant who played an important role in the development of the Windows operating system, actually had been moving away from day-to-day operations at Microsoft for some time. He had taken a lesser role in the merged operating system and developer division since March 2000.

His retirement was long planned, not a sudden move, and he picked this time to step aside before the major server announcement that Microsoft has scheduled for late this month.

Certainly the retirements of key people--Maritz as well as Nathan Myhrvold, Greg Maffei and Tod Neilsen--is a loss for Microsoft. But it is inevitable in any large company that eventually the old guard will leave and others will take their place. Microsoft has always been very effective at recruiting the best and brightest in the IT industry. The software giant still has plenty of very smart people who are ready to take new roles and drive the company forward.

Of course, Microsoft continues to face daunting challenges--as does every technology company--as it navigates e-business-driven change. The loss of Maritz signals a changing of the guard, but customers should expect little change in Microsoft's behavior as a result.

Meta Group analysts Peter Burris, David Cearley, Val Sribar, Will Zachmann, and Steve Kleynhans contributed to this article.

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