Will New Personalities Change

By eweek  |  Posted 2006-06-16 Print this article Print

How MS Runs?"> There is a lot of early buzz that the way Microsoft operates will change significantly going forward given the difference in personality and focus of Ray and yourself, compared to Bill. Do you see any fundamental shift in the way the company is run and its software is produced, over the next two years and beyond?

I think that the culture of the company is rich and established. After 31 years, Bill has put a fairly indelible imprint on the company. A lot of people have grown up inside this company and we do what we do the way we have grown up doing it to some extent. I dont expect there to be any abrupt change as a function of that.
Clearly, Ray and I are different personalities than Bill, but then again a lot of the interactions among top management have already been between all of us as the company has grown and matured over the past five to six years. Im not expecting it to be very disruptive relative to certainly how the product groups develop their products.
Is the plan to have Bill gradually hand over his responsibilities to you over the next two years until he transitions to his foundation? We are not trying to do this slowly at all. The two principle parts, effective today, move to Ray and me, and Bill will partner with us for the next twelve months. So we will be doing this together for the next year and that is how we will approach any problems and it will be a partnership. Is Microsoft ready for Gates transition? Click here to read more. The second year of the transition we think more and more will be one where Bill will help us when we ask for help but will back away to some extent. He will assume more of an advisory role, and take on more of a special projects orientation that we envision might be the model through which he stays on beyond his role as chairman after 2008. So, our goal is really to try and make this transition happen as early in the process as possible and then have Bill be able to ensure that it was effective and smooth. We are really front-end loading it and that is why Bill announced the title changes for us and the shift in reporting structures. We have kind of flipped the switch and now we want to make sure it runs smoothly on the right track. Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer issued memos to try and calm the Microsoft troops. Click here to read more. Microsoft executives have recently said they are committed to a greater outreach to the open source community and to make Windows software interoperable with that licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL). Is that a priority of yours and something you plan to move further forward? I have been one of the principle people architecting the way we are going to step up to this bigger question around interoperability, and that will certainly be a focus of mine going forward, along with Bob Muglia. Does anything change from a competitive standpoint with this move? Many people will surely question what will happen to a Microsoft without Bill Gates. What is the message to shareholders and Wall Street? Even in Bills own public remarks, he pointed out that he thought his iconic status and the way that was reported tended to overemphasize his role in the companys innovation and execution. This is really a transition that has been in the works for a couple of years, with a couple to go before, and we will see the emergence of a lot of great talent that has today been portrayed as all Bill. This is a company with, in many cases, the best people in the world. Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.


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