Born and educated in Egypt, Elabbady received his PhD in electrical engineering from Purdue University in 1994, where he studied modeling of electromagnetic fields and signal processing. While at Purdue, he received the Geddes-Hauptman award for outstanding researcher at Purdue Electrical Engineering Dept., 1993.
After receiving his MBA from the University of Washington in 1999, Tarek joined Microsoft in the Windows group where he led a variety of the Windows development programs. His contributions included audio/video home networking, supporting networking technologies and hardware software interfaces. His most notable contribution was to the foundation of the Microsoft Windows Media Center division in 2002.
In 2005, Elabbady moved back to his home country, Egypt, to establish the first Microsoft Advanced Technology Lab (ATL) in the Middle East and Africa. Today Advanced Technology Labs are also located in Germany, Israel and Brazil and are home to skilled teams that cover interests in applied research, software development and business innovation.
In 2010 Tarek was appointed as the Senior Director of Microsoft Advanced Technology Labs and is now located at Microsoft Research Cambridge, UK from where he directs the Advanced Technology Labs.