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Microsoft's Server and Tools marketing head to leave the company

In a move that could spell change for Microsoft’s server marketing strategy, longtime Redmond employee Robert Wahbe, corporate vice president of marketing for the Server and Tools group, will be leaving the company in February, according to his official biography (ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley first reported this news over the weekend).

Wahbe has been at Microsoft since 1996, serving in a number of product development positions. In his current role, he oversees product planning, pricing, packaging, branding and advertising for Windows Server, SQL Server, System Center, Visual Studio, and Forefront.

Wahbe will be replaced by Takeshi Numoto, currently the head of product management for Microsoft Office and its various desktop applications. According to his corporate bio, Numoto joined the company in 1997, and has previously worked in business development for Windows NT, Windows Embedded and Windows Mobile. He played a role in the launch of Office 365, and delivered a keynote at GITEX 2011 in October, addressing common IT admin concerns about the cloud application service (read the full transcript on Microsoft’s site).

A Huffington Post column Numoto wrote in July 2010 offers a few clues as to his product philosophy. Describing his role with the Office team, he wrote, “I take great pride in listening to customers’ desires and expectations regarding the software tools they use to get work done. We receive tons of customer feedback every month, and study thousands of hours of customer videos for every product release.” He also writes somewhat regularly on product features and trends for the Office Exec blog.

The transition occurs on February 15.

Do you think this change represents a shift in direction for Microsoft’s server products? Let us know in the comments, or via Twitter @WindowsTT.

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