Microsoft Applications And Services Exec Qi Lu Steps Down For Reported Recuperation

Qi Lu, the Microsoft executive in charge of the software company's Applications and Services Group, is leaving the company to continue recovering from injuries reportedly suffered in a serious bicycle accident.

The news of Lu's departure came on the same day that Microsoft announced a new Artificial Intelligence and Research Group led by executive vice president Harry Shum, a 20-year Microsoft veteran.

Lu's departure, first reported by Recode early Thursday, has been confirmed by Microsoft and was disclosed to Microsoft employees in an email from CEO Satya Nadella. The Recode story, quoting sources, said Lu is trying to recover from medical issues stemming from a bicycle accident several months ago.

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Lu has been with Microsoft since 2008 when the company hired him away from Yahoo to manage the software company's online services. As executive vice president of the Applications and Services Group, Lu was responsible for development of Microsoft Office and Office 365, the Bing search engine, MSN and other products.

While there were reports that Lu might continue to advise Nadella on an informal basis, his future with Microsoft – if any – is unclear.

The Recode story said that some of Lu's duties would be taken over by corporate vice president Rajesh Jha, who currently manages Outlook and Office 365 development. Jha will now report directly to Nadella.

But some of the products that Lu previously managed, specifically Bing and Cortana, will now become part of the AI research organization managed by Shum, according to Microsoft. The organization will also include the Information Platform Group and the Ambient Computing and Robotics teams. Shum also leads Microsoft Research.

Shum joined Microsoft in 1996 as a researcher and later moved to Beijing to help found Microsoft Research China. Between 2007 and 2013 he was responsible for the Bing search product development.