Microsoft reorganized late Tuesday, creating a new developer division headed by Eric Rudder, the long-time, right-hand technology assistant to Chairman Bill Gates.
Rudder was named senior vice president in charge of the newly minted Microsoft Developer and Platform Evangelism Division. The new division is charged with reaching out to Microsofts core constituency – software developers -- and preaching the .Net software-as-a-service gospel to them.
The new division is part of Group Vice President Jim Allchins Platforms Group. The Platforms Group also includes Microsoft Windows, .Net Enterprise Servers and New Media Platforms (formerly Windows Digital Media).
Four vice presidents are reporting directly to Rudder. They are: Tom Button, vice president of developer tools; Mike Nash, vice president, content development and delivery group; Sanjay Parthasarathy, vice president, strategy and business development; and Yuval Neeman, vice president of Microsofts developer division.
Since former Microsoft developer vice president Tod Neilsen left the company in the summer of 2000, Microsoft has not been as visible or as vocal in its outreach to developers. Neilsen left Microsoft to join Web-development startup Crossgain, which ran afoul of Microsoft, resulting in the defection of some of the many former Microsoft executives who had left to work there. In July of this year, middleware vendor BEA Systems purchased Crossgain for an undisclosed amount. Neilsen now works for BEA, which competes head-to-head with Microsoft.
The Microsoft reorganization announcement comes one week before Microsoft hosts its annual developer conference, the Microsoft Professional Developers conference, in Los Angeles.
Microsoft is slated to talk up its .Net My Services (formerly code-named Hailstorm) consumer-oriented web services at the conference. The company also is expected to unveil its .Net Compact Framework, a version of its .Net plumbing that will run on handheld devices, at the show, and announce that it is nearly finished with its Visual Studio .Net suite of development tools, that will allow corporate and third-party software developers to write .Net-compatible web services and applications.