October 27, 1999 2:20 PM PDT

Key Microsoft exec resigns

A key architect of Microsoft's core successes during the past decade is leaving the company.

Brad Silverberg will serve his final day at Microsoft on Friday, capping a tumultuous nine-year career at the software giant, News.com has learned.

Silverberg will leave Microsoft to spend more time with his family, pursue personal interests, and mentor and invest in small start-up companies, Microsoft said.

Silverberg has already gotten his feet wet in the start-up game, investing in Tellme Networks in July.

In recent months Silverberg has been advising Microsoft president Steve Ballmer on consumer strategy, Microsoft said. Part of his decision to leave was based on the recent arrival of former Silicon Graphics chief executive Rick Belluzzo to head the Microsoft Network, according to the company.

"Now that Rick Belluzzo was on board, Brad felt that the consumer strategy was on track and there was less of a need for his services," said company spokeswoman Heidi Reys.

Silverberg's first seven years with Microsoft were regarded as unusually productive, even in the context of Microsoft's notoriously hard-driving work environment. Silverberg headed the team responsible for Windows 3.1 and took control of the Internet Explorer effort.

Silverberg, 45, was caught at the center of some of Microsoft's most intense battles, starting with internal competition between groups working on Windows 95 and Windows NT, according to sources close to Microsoft. When control of Internet Explorer was transferred from Silverberg to Jim Allchin in a 1997 reorganization, Silverberg began a two-year leave of absence.

Microsoft denied what it termed "repeated rumors" connecting Allchin's activities and Silverberg's leave.

Before his 1997 leave, Silverberg was senior vice president for applications and the Internet client group. Before joining Microsoft in 1990 he was vice president of engineering at Borland.

"Silverberg was a tremendous achiever at Microsoft," said a former colleague. "If you're looking for a guy responsible for the success of the Windows operating system, it's Brad. And then he built IE."


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