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Microsoft signs up two new mobile execs

The software maker adds two executives to take charge of marketing and development for its unit that oversees software in handheld computers and mobile gadgets.

Microsoft has named two new executives for its unit that oversees software for handheld computers, mobile phones and embedded devices.

The Redmond, Wash.-based company rehired former employee Suzan DelBene to oversee marketing for its handheld and mobile phone software business. DelBene, who had worked in the Windows and Internet Explorer groups, left Microsoft in 1998 to become an executive at Drugstore.com. Most recently, she was CEO of Seattle-based software start-up Nimble Technology, which was acquired by Actuate in a deal announced in July 2003.

"I look forward to returning to Microsoft to lead this exciting and emerging business for mobile and embedded device software," DelBene said in a statement. "I think we are on the cusp of recognizing the potential of the outstanding work that has been happening to date."

DelBene replaces Juha Christensen, who left the company late last year and then signed on as president of a new mobile and devices business unit at Macromedia. DelBene started in her new role as vice president of marketing for Microsoft's mobile devices unit on Monday.

In its second move, Microsoft tapped YaQin Zhang, former head of Microsoft Research in China, to be vice president of development for the mobile and embedded devices unit. Zhang made the switch late last month.

Zhang joined Microsoft in 1999 as assistant managing director of the China research lab, after serving as director of the Multimedia Technology Laboratory at Princeton, N.J.-based Sarnoff. At Sarnoff, Zhang specialized in various video technologies such as MPEG2 and MPEG4.

Both Zhang and DelBene report to Pieter Knook, the overall vice president of Microsoft's mobile and embedded devices group.