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Former Microsoft exec Veghte headed to HP

Longtime Microsoft executive Bill Veghte will head the computer maker's software unit.

Former Microsoft executive Bill Veghte is expected to be named on Wednesday as the new head for HP's software unit, CNET has learned.

Veghte, who earlier this year ended a 19-year career with Microsoft, was most recently the business head of Microsoft's Windows unit.

Veghte Microsoft

Last July, though, Microsoft named Steven Sinofsky to head both the business and engineering sides of Windows. At that time, Microsoft said Veghte would move to some new, unspecified role at the company.

However, in a January interview, Veghte said that he wanted to run a business "end-to-end" and said that there just wasn't the right spot at Microsoft.

"There's only a couple of those senior jobs," Veghte said at the time. His last day at Microsoft was January 31.

Although it's no Microsoft, HP's software business is nothing to sneeze at. The unit had $3.6 billion in revenue for the 12 months ending in October and, according to IDC, is the sixth largest software company in the world. Perhaps its best known software programs are its OpenView set of management tools. HP also has products in the business intelligence, information management, and media spaces.

Update at 11:35 a.m.: It's official. I just got off the phone with Veghte, who starts May 17 as executive vice president for HP Software and Services. Veghte says he'll move to the Bay Area and will be based in Palo Alto, Calif.

In choosing HP, Veghte said he looked at how software buying is changing and the emergence of cloud computing and other trends.

"We're still in the early stages of what is, in my opinion, the biggest change since client-server in how businesses use technology," Veghte said. "It's a great opportunity given where the market is going."

In addition to its hardware and software businesses, Veghte said HP has a strong sales channel and services business to support its product lines. Business customers, he said, are looking to do more business from a select few large partners.

"HP is one of the few companies from whom they'd like to see more from," he said.

Although some of HP's products compete with Microsoft, Veghte said he sees more cooperation than competition with Redmond.

"While there will certainly be areas where we have (competing) solutions," he said, "I think there is more opportunity in terms of how we partner."