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Google Poaches ‘Total Visionary’ From Microsoft To Run G Suite

Javier Soltero's former startup built a revolutionary app that became the core of Microsoft Outlook Mobile. He brings to Google experience with startups, open source communities and enterprise giants.

Google said Monday it has hired a former Microsoft executive and highly respected software visionary to a newly created position running its G Suite office productivity business.

Javier Soltero, who previously led the Cortana division at cloud rival Microsoft, has already started work as Google's first Vice President of G Suite, reporting directly to Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian.

Soltero came to Microsoft when his previous company, Acompli, was acquired by the software giant in 2014 to provide a shot in the arm for its then-flagging mobile email solution.

[Related: CRN Exclusive: Google Channel Chief Gearhart On G Suite Price Hike, Value And Partner Differentiation]

Soltero will be "responsible for continuing to grow our productivity and collaboration solutions for both enterprise and consumer users," Google said in a statement.

Tony Safoian, CEO of leading Google reseller SADA Systems, said the hire will provide a massive boost for G Suite as it aggressively competes with Microsoft's Office 365 productivity suite.

Safoian met Soltero a few years back through his Microsoft relationship, and found the executive to be a "total visionary."

Accompli, where Soltero served as CEO, was one of the best smartphone apps on the market, Safoian said. Microsoft bought that company as its home-grown mobile email solution struggled to win users, essentially rebranded its popular app as Outlook Mobile, and installed Soltero to lead the Outlook email division.

"This is a huge, huge pickup for Google," Safoian said. "The fact that they're hiring a VP of G Suite and reporting directly to TK [Thomas Kurian] shows how damn serious they are."

Soltero, by nature “a product guy,” will take ownership of the whole G Suite development strategy as part of a charge under Kurian to win share in a highly competitive productivity and collaboration market.

Safoian has learned that Google Vice President of Product Management David Thacker, Vice President of Engineering Aparna Pappu, and Distinguished Engineer Dan Ardelean all now report to Soltero.

Before founding Acompli, Soltero was CTO of SaaS and Application Services at VMware, a position he came into through a chain of acquisitions.

In 2009, SpringSource acquired Soltero's previous startup, Hyperic, a leader in large-scale web infrastructure management software.

As the former CEO of Hyperic, when VMware bought SpringSource three months later, Soltero became responsible for the virtualization leader's advanced development and strategy for cloud application-level cloud services.

Soltero previously held senior engineering positions at Netscape, and was an active contributor to several open source projects, including JBoss and Apache Tomcat.

His last position at Microsoft was corporate vice president for the Cortana digital assistant in Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligence product division.

In a prepared statement, Soltero said, "I’m incredibly excited to start this new adventure at Google Cloud, continuing to grow its much loved and widely used communications and collaboration products for both consumer and enterprise users."

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