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Microsoft nabs top Sun sales exec

Barbara Gordon, who had been Sun's head of software sales, joins rival Microsoft to oversee sales efforts among the software giant's top 50 customers.

Barbara Gordon, a top sales executive for Sun Microsystems, has left that company and joined rival Microsoft.

Gordon started at Microsoft last week as vice president of global accounts, heading the software giant's sales efforts among its top 50 customers, a company representative said Friday. In her new role, Gordon will report to Simon Witts, corporate vice president of Microsoft's enterprise sales group.

At Sun, Gordon was head of worldwide software sales, a position she had held since August 2002, after previously heading Sun One sales.

Merrill Lynch analyst Steven Milunovich, who first noted Gordon's departure from Sun in a Nov. 3 research note, said Sun's turnaround efforts could suffer if more executives defect to rivals.

"Sun's downturn can become self-reinforcing if too many execs depart," Milunovich said in the report.