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Early tablet executive leaves Microsoft

Bill Mitchell, who led the team in charge of some of Microsoft's early tablet efforts, has quietly left the company in recent months, CNET has learned.

Bill Mitchell, a corporate vice president who led some of Microsoft's early forays into tablet computing, has left the company in recent months, CNET has learned.

Bill Mitchell Microsoft

Although Mitchell has been gone from Redmond for a bit, according to sources, his biography had remained on the company's Web site until earlier this month. Microsoft confirmed his departure, but did not offer further details.

Mitchell's listed title was "Corporate Vice President, PC3 - Platform, Components, Creation & Collaboration" and his biography (as cached by Google) stated that he was "responsible for strategy, planning and project incubation for the new Windows hardware ecosystem."

"Mitchell's team collaborates with industry partners to create and promote a new generation of innovative hardware and software components that extend both the richness and reach of the Windows PC ecosystem," his bio states.

In addition to overseeing the early tablet efforts, Mitchell was among those executives who worked on Project Origami, an early effort at a slate computer that had many of the same design goals as Apple's iPad, but arrived ahead of some of the key technologies that made the Apple product possible. Microsoft largely abandoned its "ultramobile PC effort" after the first waves of products failed to generate much interest.

Although early to the tablet game--with Microsoft talking about them since practically the beginning of the decade and having Windows XP Tablet Edition on the market as far back as 2003--the company has seen its rival be the first to produce a consumer tablet hit.

Mitchell also worked in the company's automotive unit in his early days and on the company's ill-fated effort to create watches and other household objects embedded with technology, a project known as SPOT (smart personal objects technology).

Before joining Microsoft, Mitchell worked at a software start-up and as a computer-aided design engineer at Intel.