Corporate vice president for Microsoft's Live Search initiative, Christopher Payne, plans to launch a Seattle-based technology firm unrelated to the search business, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
Microsoft has lost search share since early 2005, when the company launched its own search technology.
In the last year the search volume on Microsoft Live Search has remained flat, while Google and Yahoo have risen by 33 percent and 22 percent, respectively, according to Nielsen NetRatings data.
A replacement for Payne hasn't been announced. Earlier this week, Blake Irving, another Windows Live corporate vice president, told others at the company that he plans to retire later this year.