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RealTime IT News

Microsoft's 'Greenwich' Leader Heading for Reuters

Just weeks after the release of Microsoft's latest instant messaging software beta for enterprise users, a key executive on the program has defected to news and data provider Reuters.

David Gurle, who headed Microsoft's "Greenwich" project -- the code-name for the new IM beta -- has taken the job of Global head of Collaboration Services with Reuters, effective April 1st, the company announced Thursday.

Gurle had been Microsoft's director of program management, in its real time communication group, where he was responsible for Greenwich, the enterprise-focused IM product. The beta went live on March 6th.

The hiring of Gurle is a coup for Reuters, which has been moving aggressively to develop and offer real-time messaging and collaboration services, built for enterprise systems, to its clients.

Last October, Reuters released Reuters Messaging, a secure, high-speed messaging service designed specifically for the global financial services industry. Gurle had been instrumental in helping Reuters develop the platform program while he was with Microsoft, which worked closely with Reuters on the product. In addition, Reuters had been a very early beta tester of Microsoft's Greenwich.

One of the keys to Greenwich, which is expected to be commercially available in mid-2003, is that is will be integrated with Microsoft's upcoming Windows Server 2003 platform, the next release of its enterprise level operating system. It comes as enterprises are increasingly moving to use instant messaging platforms to exchange voice and video and other documents, in addition to text messages.

The hiring away of a key Microsoft executive on that effort helps illustrate the rising competition for enterprise IM services among major technology vendors such as Microsoft, IBM, and HP.

While Gurle was with Microsoft, he oversaw Microsoft's Exchange Instant Messaging, Windows Messenger, Exchange Conferencing Server, NetMeeting and TAPI.

In a statement with the announcement, Gurle said financial institutions are traditionally ahead of the curve in finding and effectively using technology to push their businesses forward. "With Reuters' strengths in content, its trusted brand and Reuters Messaging services I see a tremendous opportunity to leverage those skills and further develop the true innovations of real time communications and collaboration for the financial industry."

During the InstantMessagingPlanet.com conference in Boston in February, Gurle addressed the lack of interoperability among different IM platforms by calling for "clearinghouse" networks, made up of third-party providers that help businesses connect and share information from their own presence-based communications networks.

In an article written by Christopher Saunders, managing editor of InstantMessagingPlanet, which is also owned by the parent of this publication, "Gurle contended that interoperability 'will impact the shift of power in the IM market' by giving the authority for administering their users' identities to businesses. As a result, IT managers and compliance officers will dictate how employees represent and conduct themselves online, while at the same time, can safely assume that their clients and colleagues on other networks are who they claim to be. "

Peter Moss, who heads up the product management team that Gurle is joining, was conciliatory in his statement, saying the addition of Gurle to the team is "truly a reflection of our solid, long term working relationship with Microsoft. David brings a tremendous amount of directly relevant experience and contacts to further the growth of Reuters Messaging and collaboration initiatives in the financial services industry."

A spokesman for Microsoft was not immediately available for comment.