Microsoft has poached Preston McAfee from Google to become the company’s chief economist.
McAfee was most recently director of Google strategic technologies and he will now be responsible for leading a team of economists who will work closely with chief financial officer Amy Hood.
He will report to Harry Shum who is executive vice president, Technology and Research at Microsoft.
Shum said in a blog post that McAfee will also with the business and engineering groups on developing new business models and metrics, designing marketplaces for advertising and apps, assisting with government relations and policy, and developing an economic strategy for the company.
“Data is a precious resource, and as a company we need to make fewer decisions on intuition and more based on market and other data,” said Shum.
He added: “We want to be leaders as we explore creative, diverse strategies to create greater value for our customers and greater value from our product/service data exhaust.”
Susan Athey, the Economics of Technology Professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, who helped pick McAfee, said: “Preston is a world-class researcher in micro-economics and marketplace design who brings to Microsoft a unique blend of research depth combined with real-world applicability.
“His past work has brought together economics, computer science, and engineering to create innovative solutions for problems such as the design of efficient auctions for telecommunications spectrum and display advertising.”
“He’s also interested in applying economics and machine learning to inventing and building new tools that improve business operations and create value customers, so he brings a great skill set for the breadth of Microsoft’s products.”
McAfee was also chief economist and research fellow for Microsoft’s search partner Yahoo from 2007 to 2012.
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