Simonyi will join Microsoft as a technical fellow, the coveted title the company gives to its most senior engineers, as the Redmond company buys Simonyi’s Bellevue-based Intentional Software.
Microsoft is bringing one of the software giant’s early luminaries back into the fold, acquiring Intentional Software, the startup founded by Microsoft Word pioneer Charles Simonyi.
Simonyi will join Microsoft as a technical fellow, the coveted title the company gives to its most senior engineers, and report to Office Executive Vice President Rajesh Jha, the Redmond company said Tuesday.
Many of Intentional Software’s approximately 100 employees are expected to also join the Microsoft Office software-engineering group. The company for now will retain its Bellevue headquarters. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Intentional Software was initially focused on tools to simplify programming. More recently, the group has worked on next-generation computer-productivity tools, Jha said.
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Simonyi, who fled Soviet-occupied Hungary at age 17, studied engineering, mathematics and computer science at the University of California Berkeley and Stanford. He spent eight years working at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), the pioneering lab that nudged computer interaction from entering text on a keyboard to the graphical user interfaces of Microsoft’s Windows and Apple’s MacIntosh.
At PARC, Simonyi was a member of the team that created the first “what you see is what you get” text editor. At Microsoft from 1981, he led the development of Microsoft Word and Excel, among other roles.
After leaving Microsoft in 2002, he founded Intentional Software, supplementing his time at the startup with trips as a space tourist to the International Space Station, and philanthropy aimed at the likes of the Seattle Symphony and Seattle Public Library.
More recently, he was one of the first major Seattle-area financial backers of President Donald Trump’s candidacy.
“I am excited, stoked, amped, and elated to join forces again with Microsoft, the premier high-tech company in the world,” Simonyi said in a blog post.