Guess who’s back at Microsoft? Excel, Word creator Charles Simonyi

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Windows giant devours Office mastermind and his biz, Intentional Software

You may or may not have heard of Intentional Software: it develops a platform for team productivity apps. More importantly, by gobbling up this biz, Microsoft has recaptured Charles Simonyi – the man who spearheaded the building of Redmond’s flagship productivity products, Word and Excel.

Simonyi is the pioneer behind intentional programming – a particular paradigm to “enable programmers to express their intentions without sinking in the mire of so-called implementation details.” He founded Intentional Software in 2002 to pursue the concept, which he hatched while at Microsoft Research – although he first had thoughts on the design in his days as a student.

Since the early 1980s Simonyi had, with Bill Gates’ blessing, run the applications group at Microsoft, with his first application being a WYSIWYG word processor. From there, he oversaw the creation of Microsoft’s flagship Office suite of applications, including Word and Excel, but departed in 2002 to run his own company alongside computer science professor Gregor Kiczales.

A handful of years ago Simonyi spoke to The Register to explain what intentional programming was. There was at the time no mention of a return to Redmond, but today Simonyi wrote:

Such a return is now guaranteed, and trumpeted by Rajesh Jha, the executive veep of the Office Product Group, who said:

This acquisition will see Intentional Software’s technology and talent joining Microsoft’s productivity offerings. “We’re excited about the company’s work on productivity applications, especially given our focus of putting people at the center of experiences and our continued effort to reimagine collaboration,” said Jha. ®

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