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Microsoft veteran launches tool start-up

Charles Simonyi, who helped to develop the software giant's Word and Excel applications, opens Intentional Software to design software development tools.

Former Microsoft researcher Charles Simonyi has started a new company with the goal of creating software development tools.

During his 20-year tenure at Microsoft, Simonyi served as director of application development, chief architect and distinguished engineer, and helped to develop the company's Multiplan, Word and Excel applications. He also worked as a researcher at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center.

The new company, Intentional Software, was created with Simonyi's business partner, Gregor Kiczales, a professor at the University of British Columbia. The tools it is creating are meant to help programmers more closely match their designs with the resulting code and to allow maximum reuse of software components.

Intentional said the new tools should make it easier for programmers to make incremental changes to complex software programs and to create simpler user interfaces for consumer electronics products.

Simonyi had been researching intentional programming at Microsoft. The new company has already signed a licensing deal with Microsoft that gives the computing giant "first right of negotiation" for any new developments. Intentional will also get licenses to relevant Microsoft intellectual property. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In starting his own company, Simonyi joins the ranks of Microsoft alumni seeking new challenges beyond the company's campus.