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February 25, 2020

Original Windows Insider Team Lead Gabe Aul has left Microsoft

Gabe Aul, the original lead for Microsoft’s Windows Insider team has left the company. Aul led the team from its very beginning until the 1st of June, 2016. A few hours ago, Aul tweeted that today is his first working day at Facebook:

Aul’s last position at Microsoft was as Corporate Vice President (CVP) for the Windows & Devices Group (WDG) on the Engineering Systems Team. He started at Microsoft  at 20, and worked his way up on corporate ladder. His career in a nutshell is covered in this lengthy quote from Wikipedia:

Aul started Microsoft’s Security Response team for Internet Explorer in 1996, right when the world began to be aware of the risks of viruses and malware. Aul learned a lot about security as well as how to build a team which was focused on rapid response and management of issues. Aul was later part of a team that started Microsoft’s Sustained Engineering group in Windows, responsible for delivering hotfixes and service packs to customers.

Aul led the effort to build Microsoft’s first product telemetry systems. Before then, Microsoft had no idea about how many problems were occurring on customer systems, nor were they able to debug them. Aul led part of the team creating the technologies to allow upload of crash, hang, and other failure data (Windows Error Reporting) as well as Microsoft’s anonymous data collection system for usage data (Customer Experience Improvement Program.) Aul won several engineering awards, patents, and published a paper based on this work.

After Windows Vista, Aul started the Program Management team working on Performance for Windows, with Michael Fortin who led the Development team. Aul and his team spent 3 years turning the “biggest, slowest version of Windows ever into the lean mean Windows 7 release” – the first edition of Windows ever that used less resources (memory, CPU, disk) than its predecessor.

Aul was promoted to Director and expanded his team to include reliability and security, and for Windows 8 they bested Windows 7 on those dimensions, making it the most efficient, most reliable, most secure version of Windows ever.

When Terry Myerson, then Executive Vice President for the Windows and Devices Group introduced the Windows Insider Program in the Windows Insider Blog’s first post back in September 30, 2014, he explained that this program is “where PC experts and IT Pros can get access to a technical preview of Windows 10“. That was most certainly true as long as the program was led by Gabe Aul. This was a practical, no-nonsense team, led by a real pro. The downhill slump, in my opinion, along with the change to an emoji – ninja cat – taco hat oriented playground for teens started as soon as Aul left that team.

I miss those early days, when the Insider team was listening, and replying to feedback.

Anyway, I wish Gabe Aul all the best. Let’s hope that for Facebook, getting a sane man and real pro like Gabe Aul can help them change another teen playground back into a reliable, trustworthy business.



Author: Kari Finn

A former Windows Insider MVP, Kari started in computing in the mid 80’s writing code for VAX / VMS systems. Since then, he’s worked in a variety of IT positions. He specializes in Windows image capture, customization, repair and deployment as well as Hyper-V virtualization. Kari is a proud Team Member at number #1 Windows site TenForums.com.

One Response “Original Windows Insider Team Lead Gabe Aul has left Microsoft”

  1. Toni Fasth
    June 25, 2019 at 10:02

    A sad day for us MS fanboys. I was hoping he’d get back into the Windows Insider team, and bring back sanity.

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