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Talk about a clean exit — hours after Microsoft's point man in the war on Google steps down, his name's off the public website and the official report's out to Bloomberg News. How can you cut a clean break like newly fired MSN Marketing Chief Martin Taylor?

  • Hold the stage until the hook pulls you off. Just yesterday, Taylor was talking up Windows Live Messenger with the PR team. (Microsoft blogger Robert Scoble did the same, playing the company stooge on a public podcast recording.)
  • Pick a less accessible news outlet. Mere mortals can't get at most Bloomberg articles and must settle for text-only lists of story abstracts. Now other reporters have to break through Bloomberg's wall to get at the official story.
  • Poise a finger over the button. Select Mr. To-be-fired's bio, hit delete, and push "publish" just as the news breaks. Replace it with a terse line like Microsoft's: "Martin Taylor is no longer with Microsoft."
  • Oh, and: Get fired out of the blue. That helps kill long goodbyes. Business 2.0 says the unusual departure means Taylor's exit wasn't up to him.
  • If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Give Taylor a month or two, and see if he's not in the queue at the Googleplex. (Of course, if he wants the job, he'll have to answer the "farmer, fox, and chicken crossing a stream" puzzle like everyone else.)

Microsoft's Google fighter leaves abruptly [Business 2.0/Fortune]