Job title: Partner Development Manager – Bing Mobile
James Whittaker is a top visionary at Bing who is focused on making the web a better place for users and developers. He’s had a storied career from his days as a hacker in the late 80s to a startup founder to professor to Microsoftie to Googler and back.
While the aptly named article gets right to the heart of why James is no longer at Google, people wanted to know “Why he returned to Microsoft.” I interviewed James at his office to get some insight.
James, you worked at Microsoft before working at Google?
I did work for Microsoft and, while I was a professor at Florida Tech, I also consulted with them continuously from 1994 through 2006. Among other things, I was on Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing Academic Advisory Board.
After your time at Google, you could take your pick of any tech company. Why did you return to a company where you had already worked?
The answer comes down to going where I need to go to accomplish what I want to accomplish. I can’t come to terms with the current state of the internet: that you search for something and just come up with ten blue links. It can be so much more, should be so much more and will be so much more.
My goal is to make the whole web work better and while that is certainly not a fix just one company can make, it has been proven again and again during my career that if there is one company that can engage the developer community as a whole, it is Microsoft.
What are the advantages to working for “search” at Microsoft?
Unlike Google, we don’t have an advertising empire to protect. We are not invested in the broken search model. But, we too have indexed the whole world’s information and we are well-placed to make the best use of it.
We have one clear mission: to make the web more useful and more beautiful. We are not hampered by the past. At Microsoft, I know I will be able to make a fundamental contribution to the future of the web.
Beyond search, what are the advantages of software and IT careers at Microsoft?
Microsoft has an amazing concentration of really smart people. Moreover, Microsoft is not a single business. It is an OS, platforms, web, cloud, apps and the list goes on. There is a billion dollar business in practically every hallway. Here you can follow your passions in whichever direction they take you.
Follow James on Twitter @docjamesw.