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Microsoft Xbox Exec Defects To Apple

Microsoft has been hit with another key defection.

Fifteen-year veteran Richard Teversham, head of video game strategy for Microsoft in Europe, has left the company to join Apple to take on an education-related role.

As senior director of business, insights, and strategy for Xbox, Teversham played a key role in building out the Microsoft Xbox and Xbox Online video game brands in Europe.

"We can confirm that Richard Teversham, director of business, insights, and strategy, has taken on a new opportunity outside Microsoft," a company spokesman told U.K. tech blog MCV on Friday. "A process is under way for recruiting his replacement."

Microsoft has been hit with a number of significant executive departures over the past several quarters.

Joanne Bradford, who was chief media officer for the company's MSN Media Network, resigned last year to join advertising startup Spot Runner. Bradford had also previously served as Microsoft's VP for sales and marketing and as chief media revenue officer.

Also in 2008, the company confirmed that Rob Short, corporate VP for Windows Core Technology, had quit.

Short, a 19-year Microsoft veteran, led the team responsible for designing, developing, and testing core components of the Windows operating system.

Additionally, Microsoft business division president Jeff Raikes stepped down in September, replaced by former Juniper Networks chief operating officer Stephen Elop. Microsoft's merger and acquisitions chief, Bruce Jaffe, left his post last February.

To boot, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates gave up full-time duties last year.

The departures highlight one of Microsoft's biggest challenges as a mature company: attracting and retaining Silicon Valley's top talent. In its early days, Microsoft could entice recruits with an entrepreneurial environment and stock options that eventually turned secretaries into millionaires.

In 2009, however, it's hot Web 2.0 startups like Craigslist and Facebook that can offer those kinds of perks and incentives.

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on Windows 7. Download the report here (registration required).