Microsoft Hires WebSphere Architect

Microsoft disclosed it has hired a key architect away from IBM.

Don Ferguson, who some observers refer to as the “Father of WebSphere,” has joined Redmond as a Technical Fellow in Platforms and Strategy, in the Office of the CTO, according to statements posted online.

Simply put, that means he reports to Ray Ozzie, another former IBM executive who last summer took over the job of Chief Software Architect from the gradually-retiring Bill Gates.

According to his executive bio on Microsoft’s site, Ferguson’s new charter is to focus on “both the evolutionary and revolutionary role of information technology in business . . . [and] understanding the trends, architecting and piloting the implications for existing and new products and evangelizing Microsoft’s vision.”

Interestingly, despite having joined the competition, IBM still has a bio for Ferguson posted online.

Ferguson was one of 53 IBM Fellows -- IBM's highest technical position. He was also the Chief Architect for IBM Software Group (SWG) and chaired the SWG Architecture Board, which oversees the architecture and integration of WebSphere, DB2, Lotus, Tivoli and Rational products.

“Don was the original Chief Architect for the WebSphere family of products,” according to IBM’s bio. Ferguson was hired to work for IBM Research in 1985.

Microsoft has not disclosed precisely what Ferguson’s focus will be on in Redmond, but highlighted several key areas he had been involved in at Big Blue, including Web services, patterns, Web 2.0 and business driven development, as well as service-oriented architectures and Web services.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services,, and .NET magazines. Contact him at [email protected].