Brian Valentine, the Microsoft senior vice president in charge of Windows development, is leaving to join Amazon.com, a company representative said in an e-mailed statement this afternoon. It's a major departure, but it might not qualify as the biggest surprise: Microsoft had said in August that it planned to reassign Valentine to another area of the company after Windows Vista was released. Senior Vice President Jon DeVaan was brought in at the time to ultimately assume Valentine's role.
Amazon says Valentine will start in mid-September, in the position of senior vice president. Amazon spokeswoman Patty Smith said no further information was available about what Valentine will be doing there.
Valentine had been at Microsoft 19 years. The announcement follows the completion of Windows Vista Release Candidate 1 last week. Microsoft said in a statement that Windows Vista project "remains on track with Brian's team reporting into Jim Allchin."