IE Platform Architect leaves Microsoft for Google

A seemingly ironic and untimely event, Chris Wilson, the man once dubbed the "IE Platform Architect" has now left Microsoft after working at Redmond for 15 years for the Internet search giant, Google. He will not be working on Chrome, at least for another year until his contract with Microsoft is up, but instead is being hired as a Developer Advocate.

With the recent huge release of Internet Explorer 9 Beta, it is a mystery as to why Wilson chose right now to join Google. In a blog post, Wilson says that he "reached the conclusion that I’d helped IE along as much as I could, I felt it was a good time to reassess where I ultimately want to go with my career, and I realized that I really needed to stretch my wings beyond Microsoft. "

Wilson's 15 year long journey began in 1995 when he joined Microsoft's Internet Explorer team, according to The Register. From there he became known as the "IE Platform Architect" and continued to improve the browser up to version 9, where he was the Principal Program Manager of the Open Web Platform and working with the team that built Internet Explorer 9's JavaScript engine, Chakra.

Further on in the blog post, Wilson mentions how Google is one of the top innovators of the web and that he wants to work on continually building the consumer a better web platform. First he has written the software, and now his goals are for the web itself, although he would not give a clear cut reason for leaving.

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Maybe I'm wrong but isn't the IE team that's working on IE9, and that worked on IE8 more or less a new one? Or mostly a new team? I know MS killed the original IE team after v6 way back when.

Its because he can see that IE9 will not revive peoples trust in IE and will subsequently lose what market share it has or most of it.

zikalify said,
Its because he can see that IE9 will not revive peoples trust in IE and will subsequently lose what market share it has or most of it.

I like IE9 and I know that many others do too. I switched to it from Firefox.

zikalify said,
Its because he can see that IE9 will not revive peoples trust in IE and will subsequently lose what market share it has or most of it.
Why won't it? Seems like a lot of people are happy with it so far.

zikalify said,
Its because he can see that IE9 will not revive peoples trust in IE and will subsequently lose what market share it has or most of it.

Windows has 90% of the desktop. MSFT got pretty complacent after having no competition for a decade or so.

Internet Explorer is free. If MSFT loses the market IE hold, what is the real effect it will have? They aren't going to stop making it. It is part of the OS. MSFT has plenty of products that are popular enough to pay for IE. MSFT isn't the king in every market. However, to lose marketshare for a product that you not only spend money to make but also sell, is totally different then one yu don't sell at all.

I don't think IE will remain king for much longer. But then again, IE comes with Windows. if IE is on par, there won't be a huge need to download another browser. I personally hate installing more than 1 app that essentually does the same thing. I would like to get back to the point where I can install 1 browser. IE is my most used simply because it works.

not switching to IE until they offer something FF, Chrome and Opera lack. considering there is hardware accel in FF4, it's going to be a cold day in hell before i switch to IE.

-- web dev

yardman said,
The IE Team needs fresh blood, maybe some young people can join the team and help IE get back on track.. IE 9 is a good start.
IE9 *is* back on track, and I'm sure many people have joined and left the team over the years.

Well you know, there's two sides to every story. Microsoft is on a Roll right now. Funny, as they start hitting stride with some really great products, people are leaving. When Products were stagnated or Pad, people hung around, took profits, and turned out ****ty stuff. Makes you wonder ...

Windows Phone 7 - HOT
IE9 - HOT
Xbox Live! - Hotter than HOT
Windows 7 - HOT
2k8 R2 Sever Line - HOT
2k10 Application line, including Exchnage Server and Office - HOT (People aren't even aware of the Sociall Connectivity of Outlook 2010 yet.)

Clearly something has changed, and the exits are either good for Microsoft, or good for both.

MorganX said,
Well you know, there's two sides to every story. Microsoft is on a Roll right now. Funny, as they start hitting stride with some really great products, people are leaving. When Products were stagnated or Pad, people hung around, took profits, and turned out ****ty stuff. Makes you wonder ...

Yeah...let's hope the exits are good.
Windows Phone 7 - HOT
IE9 - HOT
Xbox Live! - Hotter than HOT
Windows 7 - HOT
2k8 R2 Sever Line - HOT
2k10 Application line, including Exchnage Server and Office - HOT (People aren't even aware of the Sociall Connectivity of Outlook 2010 yet.)

Clearly something has changed, and the exits are either good for Microsoft, or good for both.

Competition is always good.

If you don't have a competitor there's no longer any reason to innovate. Just make a small difference, repackage and ship and voila tons of profits. Windows Mobile, IE etc all fell victim to it. Now that you have multiple browsers, multiple smartphone OSes, MS have to innovate to stay in the game and so they have.

/- Razorfold said,
Competition is always good.

If you don't have a competitor there's no longer any reason to innovate. Just make a small difference, repackage and ship and voila tons of profits. Windows Mobile, IE etc all fell victim to it. Now that you have multiple browsers, multiple smartphone OSes, MS have to innovate to stay in the game and so they have.

As much as I agree with you, it is not a complete picture. In the same timeframe you can point fingers at products not being advanced, Microsoft was shoving forward with other products and technologies that were on top because they were good products. XBox, Office, etc.

Another misconception is that Microsoft fell behind on technologies when they had invested a ton of money into them before the cost/consumer numbers caught up to make them widespread. Look at WinCE and the technology behind it, it essentially hasn't change a lot since 1997/1998, is equivalent to iOS and Android even today, but back in 1998, tablets were expensive, portable devices were expensive, etc. It was successful in other devices, but not where it is now reappearing and needed. Even the TabletPC technologies were too soon, with the hardware being too expensive for 2002, but quite common in 2010.

Things like the iPad and the iPod's success has more to do with the time point and cost of production when introduced than the product itself. The HD based iPod released right at the time that small HD technology had dropped drastically in price, and the iPad is hitting at a time when touchscreen technology for larger devices has hit all time lows as well.

I don't know what the 'bad timing' formula is for Microsoft, but their R&D is usually a few years out and either is working on the next thing, or made the current thing several years ago and the projects didn't advance once the cost/market caught up with them. It does however give the illusion that Microsoft doesn't innovate or keep products current though, even when it isn't the case.

Also don't forget that Microsoft Marketing sucks, and even when they do innovate or provide useful technologies, nobody ever hears about it... Example: Windows Vista and Win7 have 'previous versions' that worked from the HD copy on write feature of NTFS and external backups, and not only did everything OS X Time Machine did, long before it was release on OS X. It also upped OS X's features by doing it on nonbacked up existing volumes and across server volumes. However, people still don't realize this feature is in the very Windows computer they are using, and think this technology only exists in OS X. (There are 1,000s of examples like this, and even hard core MS Fans often don't understand that these abilities and features are in the products they like.) Microsoft's marketing = epic failure.

Well yeh there's that as well But I was just trying to make it a simple post haha.

Microsoft really needs to step-up its marketing. However, in the past they made the mistake of leaving that to their partners. So like if HTC made a Windows Phone, they would have to advertise it. Nowadays though, MS seems to be doing a better job; win 7 advertisements, upcoming WP7 ones etc

thenetavenger said,

*snipped*

Well said. I've been following the industry for awhile now and have come to the same conclusions myself. Well a good portion of that is fact, it's just most people seem to have short memory spans, don't care, or are biased / blinded by it.

WOW! This is the second major person to leave Microsoft after 15 years. Blake Irving who was with Microsoft left after his 15 years and went over to Yahoo. What is going on?

JSYOUNG571 said,
WOW! This is the second major person to leave Microsoft after 15 years. Blake Irving who was with Microsoft left after his 15 years and went over to Yahoo. What is going on?

Job started to be boring? Change is a good thing.

JSYOUNG571 said,
WOW! This is the second major person to leave Microsoft after 15 years. Blake Irving who was with Microsoft left after his 15 years and went over to Yahoo. What is going on?

Big deal. People leave companies all the time. There'll be plenty of just-as-talented people filling in his shoes.
The2 said,

Job started to be boring? Change is a good thing.

Precisely.

JSYOUNG571 said,
WOW! This is the second major person to leave Microsoft after 15 years. Blake Irving who was with Microsoft left after his 15 years and went over to Yahoo. What is going on?

Blakei didn't leave MS to go to Yahoo...he took his family on a world tour, then taught at Pepperdine. Almost three years later, he joined Yahoo.
testman said,
There'll be plenty of just-as-talented people filling in his shoes.

Unfortunately, Blake's shoes are still waiting in a RedWest lobby...

JSYOUNG571 said,
WOW! This is the second major person to leave Microsoft after 15 years. Blake Irving who was with Microsoft left after his 15 years and went over to Yahoo. What is going on?
Apparently it's more surprising to hear someone leave a company after more time has passed, than less.

JSYOUNG571 said,
WOW! This is the second major person to leave Microsoft after 15 years. Blake Irving who was with Microsoft left after his 15 years and went over to Yahoo. What is going on?

Apparently, Bill Gates was a good boss.

Anastasios A Toulkeridis said,
So now he is going to ruin Chrome? :-D

Hell yeah he is. That's what everyone's using these days. The only reason people will upgrade to IE 9 when it's final is because it'll be pushed through WU. Meanwhile, you see Chrome ads all over the place and word of mouth.

Anastasios A Toulkeridis said,
So now he is going to ruin Chrome? :-D

Of course not. He's but one man. Stop with the melodramatics.

Anastasios A Toulkeridis said,
So now he is going to ruin Chrome? :-D

Or the opposite? Note how IE 6 has fared now that we're on IE 9 and MS is actually willing to spend resources on that team. They've made huge changes the past few years to the better. Who would've thought IE 9 would've done 95 on the Acid3 test and supported major HTML5 features just a few years ago?

I don't think the stagnated and poor IE 6 was his sole fault. I think it was management, and a lack of funding.

Educated Idiot said,

The only reason people will upgrade to IE 9 when it's final is because it'll be pushed through WU.

The irony of your username is hysterical.

Northgrove said,

Or the opposite? Note how IE 6 has fared now that we're on IE 9 and MS is actually willing to spend resources on that team. They've made huge changes the past few years to the better. Who would've thought IE 9 would've done 95 on the Acid3 test and supported major HTML5 features just a few years ago?

I don't think the stagnated and poor IE 6 was his sole fault. I think it was management, and a lack of funding.

I agree. MSFT had no plans to update Internet Explorer pass version 6. There hand was forced because IE was starting to get its ass kicked by FireFox. I mean look how long IE6 was out before we even went to IE7. and instead of updating 7 with the features they put in IE8, they simply made IE8.

Maybe the guy wanted to be with a company that is showing some growth in the area he likes. Ever since IE was integrated into Windows, it has changed very little over time. They basically patch it to the death, until patching wasn't enough and a rewrite was inevitable.

MSFT probably just threw some jack @ the IE project, and this guy had already planned his move to leave.

testman said,

Don't be stupid.

No, that is not stupid. Unless you have knowledge of how Microsoft departments are operated, there is no real way to assume that this man was responsible for either the successes or failures of IE products. BUT, being that he was the architect of a lowly product for the past 15 years one could make the suggestion that he was responsible for the faillings of IE products. The "buck stops here" mentality of responsible leadership is a valid form of assessing one's capacity of workmanship.

DClark said,

No, that is not stupid. Unless you have knowledge of how Microsoft departments are operated, there is no real way to assume that this man was responsible for either the successes or failures of IE products. BUT, being that he was the architect of a lowly product for the past 15 years one could make the suggestion that he was responsible for the faillings of IE products. The "buck stops here" mentality of responsible leadership is a valid form of assessing one's capacity of workmanship.

Sorry, that wasn't for your comment, that was for a comment above yours.

spacer said,
Dear God, please don't let him any where near the Chrome code base. I don't wany my Chrome turning into IE.

Don't be stupid.

spacer said,
Dear God, please don't let him any where near the Chrome code base. I don't wany my Chrome turning into IE.

ActiveX Coming to get yA!

spacer said,
Dear God, please don't let him any where near the Chrome code base. I don't wany my Chrome turning into IE.

lol

spacer said,
Dear God, please don't let him any where near the Chrome code base. I don't wany my Chrome turning into IE.

hahah...same here...lolzzz

spacer said,
Dear God, please don't let him any where near the Chrome code base. I don't wany my Chrome turning into IE.
I don't think the problem is the developer as much as the development cycle.

Wilson mentions how Google is one of the top innovators of the web and that he wants to work on continually building the consumer a better web platform.

Why didn't he ever bother to do that for MS over the past 15 years?

evo_spook said,
Why didn't he ever bother to do that for MS over the past 15 years?

Internal politics.
That's the reason it's hard to innovate from within a product group.
It's easier to innovate on the R&D budget than it is within existing product groups.

dotf said,

Internal politics.
That's the reason it's hard to innovate from within a product group.
It's easier to innovate on the R&D budget than it is within existing product groups.

The same reason Congress rarely gets anything done.

NPGMBR said,

The same reason Congress rarely gets anything done.

Congress gets nothing done because doing something means being held accountable for it. That endangers their #1 priority ... getting reelected.

Can't imagine working on IE over the years being the most exciting or rewarding job when MS weren't willing to push the boat until recently. Good luck on your new adventure.

OceanMotion said,
Can't imagine working on IE over the years being the most exciting or rewarding job when MS weren't willing to push the boat until recently. Good luck on your new adventure.

Indeed! What DID he fill his days with in the IE5/IE6 years??

wotsit said,

Indeed! What DID he fill his days with in the IE5/IE6 years??

Microsoft paid four year vacation.

They told him recently he'd have to work on IE9 and he DID NOT LIKE!
Google told him their campus is fun and he wouldn't have to work for a year because of his contract with Microsoft (and not being able to share IP). He jumped!

wotsit said,

Indeed! What DID he fill his days with in the IE5/IE6 years??


Exactly my thoughts. Until IE9, it's not like they even came up with ideas on their own.

Trueblue711 said,
Exactly my thoughts. Until IE9, it's not like they even came up with ideas on their own.
Utter rubbish. You can't rewrite history like that. Hell IE9 is probably even the opposite: it's standardizing on "other people's" ideas.

Surely the fact that so many IE-specific browser things used to exist would make you realise they didn't just copy everyone else from IE1-8.