People viewed Bill Gates anouncement last week of his future retirement from Microsoft as a significant item. Gates will in fact remain in the Chairman’s role of the company, but will cease his active day to day functions in other capacities. Microsoft has been on a buying spree picking up software companies and technologies left and right. Just as Windows Live is launching, a typical corporate restructuring occurred with none other than the head of the Windows Live group, Martin Taylor. Taylor is now reported to have been an up and coming star and a Steve Ballmer protege.

It would appear in hindsight that Taylor has been on the outs since last Friday, as he was suddenly unavailable for reporters and then his email was shut down and finally the anouncement and the corporate websites offered up the obvious, Martin was gone.

Ballmer Bids Adieu To Windows Live Exec – “Taylor’s sudden departure has left many scratching their heads. Some observers believe Ray Ozzie, the man set to take over Bill Gates’ role as chairman in 2008, may have had a hand in trying prepare his own team of executives.”

The question that is foremost in the media is “Does this signal a shakeup by Ray Ozzie, slated to replace Bill Gates in 2 years?” or is something else going on?

My money is on the idea that something else is going on at Micirosoft and with Taylor. Two years is a long way off and would leave pleanty of time to make a better transition without casting a cloud over a new product roll out.

Did Taylor find a sweeter deal somewhere else? Did he feel passed over somehow? Were unpublished mistakes made or efforts sabataged?

Most importantly how does this fit in the grand scheme of things with all of the other efforts, purchases, and actions by Microsoft this year?