Redmond (WA) – Microsoft may now have all the Yahoo it wants: The company today said that Qi Lu, a former Yahoo executive, has been put in charge of Microsoft’s “efforts” in search and online advertising and all the company’s online information and communications services.
47-year-old Lu, who was executive vice president of Engineering for the Search and Advertising Technology Group at Yahoo, will join Microsoft as president of the Online Services Group on January 5 and report directly to chief executive officer Steve Ballmer.
“I am tremendously excited to welcome Qi to Microsoft,” Ballmer said in a prepared statement. “Dr. Lu’s deep technical expertise, leadership capabilities and hard-working mentality are well-known in the technology industry, and Microsoft will benefit from his addition to our executive management team.”
“I am genuinely excited about the opportunities ahead for Microsoft to make an enormous impact on the online industry,” Dr. Lu said. “Microsoft has built a great foundation for its search and advertising technologies and put an amazing team of researchers and engineers in place to drive the next wave of innovation in online services. I’m looking forward to working with them to help transform the way people and businesses use the Internet to find and share information.”
Microsoft said that Lu was responsible for the technology development of Yahoo’s Search and Marketplace business unit, which includes the company’s search, e-commerce, and local listings of businesses and products. Prior to working for Yahoo, he was a researcher at IBM’s Almaden Research Center, worked at Carnegie Mellon University as a research associate and at Fudan University in China as a faculty member.
Microsoft may not have acquired Yahoo, but was certainly successful in attracting one of its smartest people and key executives. Our sources tell us that some former lower-level Yahoo engineers are now working for Microsoft as well. It seems like there is a little Yahoo in Microsoft already and that may be all the Yahoo Microsoft really wants.
We do not know whether Lu is under a non-compete agreement with Yahoo – apparently not – but we wonder whether Yahoo will try to find a way to sue Lu and Microsoft? We doubt that Yahoo is especially happy about this announcement.