Microsoft Recruits Cutler

New Hire Likely To Head Up 486 OS Development

Susan Breidenbach
Computer Reseller News

December 5, 1988

REDMOND, Wash. - Microsoft Corp. has hired David Cutler, a systems-software engineer who played a key role at Digital Equipment Corp. for the past 17 years, to head what Microsoft described as "a team developing advanced operating systems software."

Cutler's primary achievements at DEC include the RSX-11M operating system for the PDP-11, and the VAX VMS operating system. Most recently, he was working on the project code-named "Prism," which DEC canceled earlier this year. The purpose of the project was to develop an RISC-based follow-on to DEC's popular VAX computer.

"Clearly, Cutler is a brilliant software engineer, and he had a major impact at DEC," said Craig Symons, a vice president at the Gartner Group. "Over the past few years, DEC let him pretty much do what he wanted to do and set up a separate engineering group for him in Bellevue, Wash."

The "DECwest" group developed the MicroVAX, which was the first microcomputer-based implementation of the VAX architecture. "I don't see why {Cutler} couldn't make the transition" to the microcomputer-oriented world at Microsoft, Symons said.

In a prepared statement, Cutler said the Microsoft job presents him with a "unique opportunity to expand my career into a part of computing I haven't worked on before."

Microsoft is developing an 80386-specific operating system and is presumably looking ahead to the 80486 as well. It is likely that this is the area Cutler's team will be focusing on.

"He's already designed and developed a complex, virtual-mode operating system for a 32-bit architecture," said Symons. In Intel Corp.'s IBM-standard microprocessor line, the 80386 is the first 32-bit chip and the first to support multiple, virtual machines.

Steve Ballmer, vice president of systems software at Microsoft, said hiring someone with Cutler's "capabilities and experience ... is a strong indication of our commitment to MS OS/2 as our platform of the future. {Cutler} is respected as someone who can manage large projects and bring them in on time, and with the highest quality."

Copyright 1988 CMP Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.