Google Grabs Another Top Microsoft Engineer – Will Ballmer Throw Another Chair?

December 16, 2013 - Written By Cory McNutt

According to The New York Times, another highly respected Microsoft engineer and software designer, Blaise Ag¼era y Arcas, has jumped to Google, and we are sure that Steve Ballmer is not happy – he hates losing important engineers, but he especially hates losing them to arch rival, Google.  A story from a few years back when court papers in a case where Microsoft filed a lawsuit against Google when they hired Kai-Fu Lee away from Microsoft, Mark Lucrovsky (another engineer that left for Google) declared to the court that when he setup a meeting with Ballmer to tell him that he was leaving and this is what transpired:

Prior to joining Google, I set up a meeting on or about November 11, 2004 with Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer to discuss my planned departure….At some point in the conversation Mr. Ballmer said: “Just tell me it’s not Google.” I told him it was Google.

At that point, Mr. Ballmer picked up a chair and threw it across the room hitting a table in his office. Mr. Ballmer then said: “F**king Eric Schmidt is a f**king pussy. I’m going to f**king bury that guy, I have done it before, and I will do it again. I’m going to f**king kill Google.” ….

Thereafter, Mr. Ballmer resumed trying to persuade me to stay….Among other things, Mr. Ballmer told me that “Google’s not a real company. It’s a house of cards.”

So you can see that Ballmer does not take too kindly to Microsoft engineers jumping over to Google – “**s” put in by me!

Blaise Ag¼era y Arcas was an important figure in Microsoft’s Bing Map services, but was involved in a variety of projects at Microsoft that included wearable technologies, natural user interfaces, and augmented reality – one of his most recent projects was creating a new version of Photosynth which involved creating 3D panoramas. Several people with knowledge of his plans said that Mr. Ag¼era y Arcas will be working on machine learning at Google, but in a phone call, he would only confirm that he was going to join Google.

Blaise Ag¼era y Arcas

He said in his blog:

Nick Wing­field at the New York Times just broke the news that I’m going to Google. On one hand, of course this is tremen­dously excit­ing; Google is a com­pany of grand ambi­tions and bril­liant peo­ple. On the other hand it has been hard— very hard— to detach emo­tion­ally from Microsoft. The company’s lead­er­ship has been con­sis­tently good to me over these past eight years, and it has been a time filled with cre­ativ­ity and growth and good friends. It’s painful to leave behind so many won­der­ful ongo­ing projects, and even more so to leave behind such a great team. The hardest decision of my life.

This great addition to Google can only mean more great talent and ideas will be available in Google’s arsenal – In 2011 he was named a Distinguished Engineer at Microsoft. Let us know on our Google+ page if you think it is okay for companies to lure away employees from other companies – it happens all of the time – do you agree with the practice?