For people who have used PC with Microsoft Windows all their lives, they must hold some appreciation for the MS Office suite of word processing, spreadsheet and other related applications. These have been one of the most important products in the entire package of the earliest Windows operating systems that would cement the rise of Microsoft as a giant of computer software. It should be noted that the project head that originally oversaw the development of Word and Excel had since left the company he had been a part of, but just over a decade after his departure, Charles Simonyi finds himself back with Microsoft, in a rather roundabout way too.
CNN reports that on Tuesday April 18, Microsoft announced their agreement to acquire Intentional Software, a startup firm launched by Simonyi following his 2002 resignation from the company he has been a part of since 1981. Although the specific terms of the acquisition deal were kept private, Microsoft did state that having Intentional Software as one of their subsidiaries would be a major help in advancing their own development of more productivity tools, a newly emergent battlefield between software companies fielding competing work platforms.
Simonyi, who became a billionaire himself during his tenure at Microsoft, leading the development of MS Word and Excel (and Excel’s spreadsheet forerunner Multiplan), would go on to found Intentional Software in 2002 which, in his own words, focuses on “reinventing productivity software for the modern workplace”. The Hungarian-born software executive also donated millions of dollars to the same charities as Bill Gates himself, and even became the second “space tourist”, or recreational civilian astronaut, in 2007 when he flew in the Russian Soyuz TMA-10 rocket spaceflight to the International Space Station (ISS), a feat he would repeat in 2009.
With regards to the Tuesday announcement of Microsoft acquiring his startup, Charles Simonyi had only this to say in his blog post on Intentional Software’s website the same day: “I am excited, stoked, amped, and elated to join forces again with Microsoft.” With his startup now part of his old stomping grounds, he sees a software revolution of sorts that he describes as “reinventing productivity itself”.
The higher-ups at the company Simonyi worked in for two decades were just as much in awe with his “comeback” as he is. Current executive VP of the MS Office product group Rajesh Jha, had nothing but praise and honor for one of his predecessors saying, “During his tenure, Charles oversaw the creation of some of Microsoft’s most well-known productivity applications. Now it’s my honor to welcome Charles back to Microsoft, along with his exceptional team.” It should be recalled that Microsoft is on an acquisition spree, one of which was LinkedIn for $26 billion.
Photo courtesy of TechCrunch