Public face of Windows Vista leaves Microsoft

The man who became the public face for Windows Vista -- and often bore the brunt of criticism directed at the OS -- through blog posts and community events has resigned from Microsoft.

Nick White is leaving the Redmond company to take a position at BuzzCorps, a blog-oriented viral marketing company founded by former AMD communications manager Chris Aarons. White has worked with Aarons in the past on marketing efforts for Windows Vista.

Aarons was one of the few public relations heads who took a different approach to marketing by reaching out to and embracing smaller publications like blogs. He focused on building a conversation with consumers, rather than pitching them, and in turn, was highly respected in the industry.

Appropriately, White announced his departure in a blog post this week. "It's a bit deflating to know that this constitutes my last post to the Windows Vista Team blog. But by the same token, I'm thrilled, amazed and humbled at the success that this blog has become," he wrote.

"Our aim has always been to share the Windows story in an open and approachable manner. Given the role we play today as a community resource, I'd wager that we're doing pretty well in that regard."

White didn't provide any specific reasoning for his decision, but his job was never easy. He arrived just as Microsoft was beginning to embrace transparency, and fought tooth and nail to convince the company to open up and bridge the growing gap between Microsoft and its disillusioned constituency before and after the launch of Windows Vista.

Because he was the individual whose picture was on the Windows Vista team blog and the only conduit to those building the new operating system, White faced a constant barrage of requests, complaints and general criticism. Nevertheless, he always handled himself with aplomb, and worked hard to respond to all comments and direct them to the appropriate place.

It's not clear how much transparency will remain without White, who helped convince Microsoft to finally break its silence about Vista Service Pack 1, and publicly admit delays due to driver problems caused by the long-awaited update.

White says his colleague Christopher Flores, a director on the Windows Communications team, will take over his role. "Christopher has been with Microsoft for many years and will draw on a wealth of experience in his efforts to bring you the Windows story."

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