"Paul Ryan, the former chief technology officer at Overture Services, was hired at MSN on Oct. 20, 2003, just weeks after Yahoo finalized its $1.63 billion acquisition of the commercial search pioneer. Ryan’s appointment as general manager in charge of “the monetization of MSN Search,” according to Microsoft, was seen as a coup in the company’s efforts to build a formidable rival to No. 1 search engine Google and replace its current commercial search partner, Overture. Microsoft spokeswoman Crystal Duncan confirmed that Ryan left on Feb. 12."
So here’s confirmation. Last week I saw a couple Google queries in my referrer stats (because of this post) that mentioned his name as well as "Microsoft" and "fired," but I didn’t find any confirmation of his departure and I didn’t want to launch a rumor based on just that. It’s funny what you sometime learn from simple referrer logs.