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Microsoft has hired Don Ferguson, a prominent IBM software technologist and former chief architect of IBM’s Software Group, to work in the office of the CTO.

According to Ferguson’s bio at Microsoft—published on Jan. 8—he is now a Microsoft technical fellow in Platforms and Strategy, in the office of the chief technology officer.

At Microsoft, “Don focuses on both the evolutionary and revolutionary role of information technology in business,” his executive bio said. “Understanding the trends, architecting and piloting the implications for existing and new products and evangelizing Microsoft’s vision are the key aspects of Don’s job.”

Alex Barnett, community program manager for the data programmability team at Microsoft, highlighted Microsoft’s hiring of Ferguson in a blog post on Jan. 15, noting that Ferguson will be working with the office of the CTO, on which Microsoft Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie has placed his mark. The .Net Developer’s Journal also published a Jan. 15 story on Ferguson’s departure from IBM to Microsoft.

Ferguson is known as the father of WebSphere, as he was key to the development of the IBM application server and previously held the position of chief architect of WebSphere.

Ferguson is no stranger to Microsoft, particularly in the Web services and standards arena. According to his Microsoft bio, he guided IBM’s strategy and architecture for SOA (service-oriented architecture) and Web services and co-authored many of the initial Web service specifications. IBM and Microsoft worked together closely on the early Web services specifications, now collectively known as WS-*, or “Web services star,” in the Web services community.

In addition to Web services, Ferguson focused on patterns, Web 2.0 and business-driven development at IBM. And in his role as IBM fellow and chief architect for IBM’s Software Group, Ferguson provided overall technical leadership not only for WebSphere, but also for IBM’s Tivoli, DB2, Rational and Lotus products.

Indeed, in an interview with eWEEK, Grady Booch, chief scientist at IBM’s Rational division, said that he will miss the technical discussions he used to have with Ferguson regarding IBM’s technology directions, although he wishes him well in his new endeavor.

IBM, however, would provide no official comment on Ferguson’s move.

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