According to a report by the NY Times, a top engineer and software designer at Microsoft has left the company to join its rival Google. Blaise Agüera y Arcas, the man behind the development of Microsoft’s Bing Maps service and most recently the Photosynth 3D panorama app, has apparently joined Google and will work on “machine learning.”
Arcas wasn’t just an ordinary engineer at Microsoft. In fact, he was involved in augmented reality, mapping, wearable computing, and natural user interfaces at Microsoft. He was also the architect of Bing Maps and Bing Mobile. Arcas recently oversaw development of Photosynth, a 3D panorama photo app.
Arcas confirmed he had left Microsoft for Google in a telephone conversation with the NY Times, but refused to detail why he left the devices and services giant. “He was a great colleague and we wish him the best in his future endeavors,” Adam Sohn, a spokesman for Microsoft, stated.
Sometimes the grass appears greener on the other side, resulting in a defection, but this career change also causes conflicts between the two companies. Back in 2005, Google hired Kai-Fu Lee, who was an expert in speech recognition technology. Microsoft sued Lee and Google, stating that Lee was violating a standard one-year non-compete agreement that was part of the Microsoft contract. Google ended up countersueing Microsoft and the devices/services giant ended up settling with Google in December of 2005.