Microsoft Appoints New IT CIO

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2004-05-07 Print this article Print

UPDATED: As CIO of the company's IT organization, Ron Markezich says his top priority will be making sure that Microsoft products run well internally before their release to customers.

Microsoft Corp. on Friday promoted Ron Markezich to CIO of its IT organization. He had been the general manager of finance and administration in that department. Markezich will report to Rick Devenuti, who has been serving as both Microsofts corporate vice president of worldwide services and as IT CIO after the previous head of services, Mike Sinneck, left the company last year. Microsoft has used its IT department for some time now as one of the primary testers of its upcoming products, with software such as Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 running the companys actual desktops, servers, Web sites and day-to-day operations for as long as a year before those products became release candidates.
Markezich told eWEEK in an interview Friday that this would continue to be his No. 1 priority as an organization: making sure that Microsoft runs its products well internally before their release to customers, so it gets that feedback directly to the product teams. "We will continue to be Microsofts first and best customer," he said.
The IT organization, which comprises about 3,800 staff members, including Microsoft employees, vendors and contingent staff, starts testing software under development in its labs as early as the alpha stage, which is before any public betas. Deployment in its production environments takes place once the public betas are released, he said. A few thousand client machines are already running early builds of the Longhorn client, the next version of Windows, on the network, he said, adding that its too early for that with the Longhorn server code. "We are working very closely with the Longhorn server product team on those builds, as there are a lot of features in Longhorn that we are looking to take advantage of in our IT environment," he said. Other products under development that are being run in production environments include Whidbey, the next update to Visual Studio .Net, and Yukon, the next version of SQL Server, Markezich said. Next Page: Sharing goals between the IT and product teams.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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