Longtime Microsoft Engineer Leaves After 30 Years at Company


DeVaan wants to spend more time with his family

2013 was clearly a pretty tough year for Microsoft and after the departure of CEO Steve Ballmer, the company is losing yet another veteran.

This time, it’s engineering chief Jon DeVaan the one who announced his decision to retire, saying that he only wants to spend more time with his family.

DeVaan joined Microsoft in 1984 and held several key roles within the company, taking part in the development process of multiple projects, including Windows 7. He was eventually named the leader of the company’s Core Operating System Division once development of Windows 7 started.

Microsoft has only issued a small statement to say that DeVaan has indeed decided to retire to spend more time with his family, but no other details on a possible next destination have been provided.

“Jon DeVaan has chosen to leave Microsoft to spend more time with his family. Since he joined Microsoft in 1984, Jon contributed to important products and services across the company. We thank him and wish him and his family all the best,” Redmond said.

Steven Sinofsky, the former Windows boss that left Microsoft in November 2012 and who brought us the popular Windows 7, issued a statement for GeekWire to recall some of the moments when DeVaan really helped the Redmond-based tech giant.

“Back in the early 1990′s the use of garbage collection was more theoretical than practical (it is used broadly today in .net and scripting languages), but I was really into it having just come from graduate school (the theoretical). I went to see Jon to convince him of the virtues of using GC in Excel as we explored using it in our first C++ tools.

He was open minded and then patiently showed me the tiny number of bugs in Excel that were rooted in memory management problems and also showed me just how memory efficient Excel was–all due to the amazing coding and engineering the team did. At once I learned the limits of theory, the pragmatic engineering Jon exhibited, as well as his patience and openness to new ideas from a ‘new guy.’”

Both Sinofsky and DeVaan are clearly two major losses for Microsoft, as the company is getting through one of the most important reorganization processes in its history.

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