As Abbott Flocks From Palm To Twitter, Pass Becomes The First Twitter CTO

Last Friday, news hit that Michael Abbott, Palm’s head of software and services, the man in charge of its webOS platform, was leaving the company. The news, which broke via a regulatory filing, made waves because it further highlighted Palm’s vulnerable position — the company’s stock price has been plummeting in recent months and it’s now attempting to find a buyer. The same filing revealed Palm’s plan to get high level employees to stick around: lucrative retention packages in the case of a sale. Apparently, Abbott wanted nothing to do with that. He must have had a good reason. Now we know why.

Abbott will be joining Twitter as the company’s new vice president of engineering, we’ve learned and confirmed with the company. To make room, Twitter’s current VP of engineering, Greg Pass, is being promoted to chief technology officer — becoming the first person to hold the CTO title for the fast-growing company.

Pass came over to Twitter as a part of  the Summize acquisition (now known as Twitter Search) almost two years ago. He was previously the CTO (and co-founder) of Summize, and before that was a system architect at AOL and co-founded ToFish. Obviously, the Summize acquisition has worked out well for Twitter, as search is now a key part of the service, and is leading the way in the company’s push to start making money — Promoted Tweets will at first rely completely on Twitter Search.

Abbott, meanwhile, was previously the general manager for .NET online services at Microsoft. Prior to that, he co-founded Passenger Inc and founded Composite Software. But obviously the Palm gig was his big one as he’s the man who introduced webOS to the world. And while it may have not saved Palm, pretty much everyone agrees that the software was innovative, and the best part of the Pre.

Twitter continues to build up one hell of a team.

[photo: flickr/jeffrey j schwartz]