Microsoft has announced that one of its long-time executives is leaving the Redmond base and moving on. Julie Larson-Green will be leaving Microsoft after spending 25 years with the company. The news was first reported by ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley and was later confirmed by the company.
In its statement, Microsoft said Julie Larson-Green is “leaving Microsoft to pursue new adventures in building great teams and customer-first products.”
Over a quarter of a century, Larson-Green covered a lot of ground within Microsoft HQ. She joined the company as a program manager for Visual C++ and developed a passion for giving users the best experience possible. This started with the early days of Internet Explorer, where she worked on UI through IE 3.0 and IE 4.0.
Later, Larson-Green was moved to the Office team, where she would spend a decade in various roles. Among them was the head of UI design for Office XP, Office 2003, and Office 2007.
It was with the latter that she made arguably her most crucial contribution to Microsoft. Larson-Green managed the integration of the ribbons menu system in Office 2007. Ribbons replaced the menu-style interface previously seen. This UI is still around today and scored Julie Larson-Green a technical leadership award in 2013.
Windows 8 and Metro
However, her flair for the user experience did not always hit the mark. Larson-Green oversaw the successful launch of Windows 7 under her new role as Corporate Vice President, Program Management, Windows Client. This in turn led to her promotion to head of all Windows software and arguably her biggest mistake.
Yes, Larson-Green oversaw the ill-fated development of Windows 10 and the Metro UI. Despite this clear fail (Windows 8 was a disaster), Larson-Green's legacy was not damaged. In 2015 she was named Woman of Vision ABIE Award for Leadership from the Anita Borg Institute.
Microsoft commented on the new chapter in an official statement:
“We thank Julie for the numerous contributions she's made to Microsoft over the last 25 years, and we wish her the very best in her new endeavors”.