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Microsoft woos former IBM software exec

The software giant looks to boost strategic marketing of its Windows Server products by hiring a 20-year Big Blue veteran.

Microsoft's stable of top executives has dwindled in recent months, but the software giant is poised to stem that trend a bit by hiring a 20-year IBM veteran to help market Windows.

Cliff Reeves, a lifetime IBM worker who most recently served as vice president of product management at Lotus, is expected to join Microsoft as vice president of Windows Server marketing, according to several independent sources. Microsoft is expected to announce Reeves' appointment Monday.

Microsoft representatives declined to comment on whether or not the company has hired Reeves. Reeves, contacted by phone, also declined to comment.

Reeves is expected to replace former Microsoft Server Vice President Jim Ewel, who left Microsoft in January. Ewel said he had decided to retire to spend more time with his family. Sources close to Microsoft said Ewel had been made a scapegoat for Microsoft's disappointing marketing of Windows 2000.

Paul Maritz, vice president of the Platforms Strategy and Developer Group, left Microsoft in September, and Vice President Todf Nielsen resigned in June.

Reeves is expected to report directly to Brian Valentine, senior vice president of Microsoft's Windows division. Reeves will work alongside the .Net Enterprise Server marketing team, headed by Paul Flessner, senior vice president of the .Net Enterprise Server division.

Reeves, who played a key role in helping IBM peddle its OS/2 operating system way back when, will be responsible for strategic marketing of Windows Server products, as well as a few of the related infrastructure servers such as the Systems Management Server, sources close to the company said. Flessner's team markets the application servers included in the Microsoft.Net framework such as the Exchange Server and SQL Server.

The move to bring in new marketing talent on the Windows front comes none too soon for Microsoft. The company is slated to launch its XP desktop products before the end of this year. Microsoft also is working on its next-generation Windows 2000 Server successor, code-named Whistler, which will come in a variety of flavors and ship several months after Windows XP.