Former Microsoft Visio Execs Regroup

Newly hatched 'Graw Group' is developing social-networking software and Web services for .Net and Longhorn.

Four former Microsoft Corp. executives have banded together to form a new company that is developing social-networking software and Web services that will build on top of .Net and Microsofts forthcoming Longhorn Windows operating system.

The new venture, The Graw Group, officially launched in October 2003. The principals behind Graw include Jeremy Jaech and Ted Johnson, the co-founders of Visio.

Visio is the business drawing/diagramming software vendor that Microsoft acquired in 2000. Microsoft currently offers Visio Standard and Professional packages as part of its Office System family of products.

Johnson was corporate vice president in charge of Microsofts Business Tools division until he quietly retired from the company in August 2003. Business Tools—which encompassed Visio, Project and MapPoint, and was part of Microsofts information worker business unit—was disbanded around the time of Johnsons departure. The Business Tools products were reassigned to new subgroups.

Jaech served as Visios president, CEO and chairman of the board prior to Microsofts Visio acquisition. After the acquisition, Jaech remained at Microsoft for six months, during which time he served as the VP of the Business Tools unit. Prior to founding Visio, Jaech co-founded Aldus, and worked on the original PageMaker development team.


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