Blaise Agüera y Arcas, a distinguished engineer, software developer and one of the chief developers of Microsoft's Bing Maps, has left the company after eight years to join its rival Google.
In a blogpost yesterday, Agüera y Arcas described the move as "the hardest decision of my life".
"On one hand, of course this is tremendously exciting; Google is a company of grand ambitions and brilliant people," Agüera y Arcas wrote. "On the other hand it has been hard— very hard— to detach emotionally from Microsoft."
Agüera y Arcas had been a key figure in developing Microsoft's Bing Maps service, as well as more recently the image-stitching Photosynth software. He has also been involved in wearable computing, natural user interfaces and augmented reality projects with the company.
"The company's leadership has been consistently good to me over these past eight years, and it has been a time filled with creativity and growth and good friends. It's painful to leave behind so many wonderful ongoing projects, and even more so to leave behind such a great team," Agüera y Arcas said.
It is not the first high profile move from Microsoft to Google. In 2004, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer reportedly threw a chair across the room when the news was broken to him that well respected engineer Mark Lucovsky would be leaving for Google.
Agüera y Arcas joined Microsoft when the software giant acquired his startup Seadragon in 2006. A year later he was in the public eye again when a TED talk he gave on Seadragon and Photosynth was well received.