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After leaving an executive position at Microsoft, Qi Lu joins Chinese search engine Baidu as COO

Back four months ago, Microsoft followers were surprised when Microsoft veteran employee and Executive Vice President of the Applications and Services Group announced that he would be stepping away from the company due to health reasons. Today some more news has emerged on this front, and it has been announced that Qi Lu has joined the Chinese search engine Baidu as a group president and Chief Operating Officer (via TechCrunch.com)

According to multiple reports, Qi Lu’s responsibilities at Baidu will include products, technology, sales, and marketing and operations. More importantly, however, Qi Lu will also have a role in Baidu’s AI push. This would make sense, since when Qi Lu first joined Microsoft he was in charge of Online Services, and was able to support Microsoft’s Bing search engine. In a statement Baidu chairman and CEO Robin Li reflected on having Qi Lu join the Baidu team:

“Dr. Lu possesses a wealth of leadership and management experience, and is a leading authority in the area of artificial intelligence… To achieve our goals, especially in artificial intelligence, which is a key strategic focus for the next decade, we will need to continue attracting the best global talent. With Dr. Lu on board, we are confident that our strategy will be executed smoothly and Baidu will become a world-class technology company and global leader in AI.”

Qi Lu has 40 U.S. patents to his name, and also has a PhD in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University.  He previously worked at Yahoo for 10 years, and while at Microsoft was also responsible for all of the research and development teams across Office 365, SharePoint, Exchange, Yammer, Lync, Skype, Bing, Bing Apps, MSN and the Advertising platforms and business group.

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Will Microsoft miss Qi Lu?