Microsoft Loses 2 Executives In One Hit

    October 26, 2005

The wizards of Redmond, Microsoft, will be losing two of their best and brightest in the next few days, Don Gagne, director of development for Microsoft Office and Hadi Partovi, general manager of the MSN portal. The two individuals were major contributors to Microsoft but unlike other previous Microsoft executives, these gentlemen are departing amicably.

Don Gagne plans to leave his death-defying life at Microsoft and dive into the somewhat less exciting future in auto racing. Many at Microsoft are grieving his leaving the company and have nothing but the best to say about him. The MiniMsft blog printed an email about Gagne:


A friend in Office forwarded me a Friday Steven Sinofsky email that Don Gagne is leaving Microsoft in December. This is a super huge loss for Microsoft and a colossal loss for Office (DonGa is in charge of development for all of Office). It’s been a while since I’ve been on a team with Don, but he is an engineer’s engineer, a voice for reason, and a champion of what is best for Microsoft’s customers. While some Microsofties scream and preen and use politics to advance their little agenda, Don has always used quiet reason, common sense, and intellect to make the best possible decisions. And he’s never been shy to break out the code or icecap or such to prove what’s the right thing to do based on reality, not agendas.

You ask about greatness forged within Microsoft itself? That’s Don. There is no replacement for Don. The only good news is that Don is not going to join a competitor like Google but rather leaving to chase his non-software passion. Microsoft, and the company’s shareholders, are in a much better place now thanks to Don’s contributions. I can only hope that everyone working closely with him have been paying close attention and have learned well to carry on in his absence.

I hope that he one day returns.

Hadi Partovi resigned last week to chase his dream of starting his own business, probably in the form of an Internet venture. Partovi is the genius behind MSN’s portal and content group. Partovi is also credited with the portal.

Like Gagne, he’s leaving Microsoft amicably and doesn’t hold any grudges. Partovi told the Seattle Times, “It’s really more I want to do my own thing.'”

Bloggers have also been kind to Partovi. A coworker, Sanaz, wrote from his MSN Spaces blog:

hadi partovi leaving ms

hadi, one of the main reasons for’s existence is leaving microsoft to start his own venture. i’m very bummed to see him leave – but i’m glad i got a chance to work with him while he was here.

While these losses aren’t on negative terms, Microsoft has suffered a bit of a hemorrhaging as far as top-level employees leaving the company. The most noteworthy was the war with Google over Dr. Kai Fu Lee but there have been others in recent weeks also. Microsoft also committed to a major restructuring a few weeks ago in to make adjustments in their strategies and tactics. But, if Microsoft continues to lose their creative talent, then they may run into other problems.

John Stith is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.