Outta Here At Microsoft

The software giant is losing key talent to the Internet

Michael Ahern's future at Microsoft Corp. looked golden. He was a top marketer at the most powerful software company in the world. In nine years, he had worked on one megaproject after another, from the Windows 95 launch to shaping the company's first e-commerce software. If he was patient, he'd be a vice-president in a couple of years--the elite of software's elite. But last April he threw all of that away and quit, leaving close to $1 million in stock options on the table so he could roll the dice on an Internet startup, GiftSpot.com

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