Tuesday , July 5 2022

One of Microsoft's fastest rising stars leaves the company


  • Javier Soltero, one of Microsoft's rising stars, leaves the company after four years with the intention of "coming back to building new things".
  • He joined Microsoft after the start, Acompli, was acquired in 2014 – a feature that is seen as a symbol of the new CEO, Satya Nadella's revitalized corporate strategy.
  • Soltero had a reputation for challenging Microsoft's assumptions and warned wisely for employees that they were on the brink of irrelevance without prompt action.
  • Soltero rose from leading Outlook to smartphones, leading Outlook overall, eventually leading Cortana Digital Assistant Business.

Javier Soltero, currently the director of Microsoft's Cortana digital assistant, leaves tech titanium at the end of the year in a round of reorganization for Microsoft Office operations.

The news was first reported by ZDN's Mary Jo Foley, and was confirmed by Business Insider of the company. Soltero did not immediately announce his next move, but tells Insider that he plans to "get back to building new things".

Soltero was one of a rising star. He first came to Microsoft in early 2014, following the acquisition of Acompli, a startup he had joined. In a few weeks, Acompli's e-mail program has been rebranded to Outlook for iPhone and Android – a feature that is seen as a symbol of the new CEO Satya Nadella's embrace of rival operating systems.

Outlook is and is a popular smartphone email client, especially among corporate users. When the app got traction, Soltero also made an impact. He soon found Leading Outlook on all platforms and then leading strategy for all Microsoft Office.

Soltero has a reputation with Microsoft to speak the truth to the company's power. In 2015, he delivered a sobering presentation that warned employees that the company without a quick response to modernizing Microsoft Office and Outlook could find itself as irrelevant as its competitors over the long term. He told the Wall Street Journal that this presentation actually caused him to hate mail from employees who accused him of being "disrespectful" the company's legacy.

Read more:

A rising star at Microsoft says that employees sent him hate mail to suggest that the company may fall behind

In March of this year, Soltero took command of Cortana, Microsoft's rival to Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri and Google Assistant. He got a mandate to find a niche for Cortana, which embedded in Windows 10, but has struggled to get traction on smartphones and elsewhere.

Soltero's resignation comes as Microsoft continues the ongoing efficiency of the Cortana operations.

The general idea, like ZDN's Foley notes, is that Microsoft tries to relocate Cortana as a general assistant within Office – as a smarter and more competent successor to the infamous Clippy. To this end, Microsoft Cortana takes closer to the Office operations and puts it under the overall umbrella of Microsoft Executive VP Rajesh Jha.

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