The Office System 2003 family of products didnt materialize out of thin air. Behind the new suite of Office products that Microsoft Corp. recently released to manufacturing and plans to launch officially on Oct. 21 is the Information Worker (IW) "Gang of Five." This is the senior leadership team assembled by Microsofts head of productivity and business services, Jeff Raikes, over the past year-plus.
Who are these guys? And how will they support Raikes in his quest to double productivity and reinvigorate Microsoft Office, starting with the launch of Office System 2003?
The Player Roster
First, a quick refresher on whos on Raikes IW dream team:
There is one very familiar face: Senior VP Sinofsky. Fourteen-year Microsoft veteran Sinofsky oversees the development of the Microsoft Office System (the suite as well as related products such as SharePoint Portal server and Visio.). Hes the guy Raikes and the other team members approach when they need to talk about a new feature or family member being added to the suite.
There are two other Microsoft veterans on the team, but both are relatively new to Raikes organization.
Anoop Gupta, who heads the real-time collaboration business unit that is part of the IW organization, most recently was Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates technical assistant. Before that, he was part of Microsoft Research. Guptas 500-person unit comprises folks pulled from Microsofts PlaceWare acquisition, NetMeeting and Exchange Conferencing Server businesses, as well as those working on Microsofts various real-time communications products.
And Marc Chardon, who is the chief financial officer for Raikes organization, spent years as head of Microsoft France, and before that, Digital Equipment Corp.s French operation. As CFO, Chardon handles the usual CFO tasks of business modeling and development.
There are two "outsiders" brought in by Raikes to help Microsoft think about the IW business from a different perspective.
Joe Eschbach, corporate VP of the IW product management group, is in charge of marketing Office. Eschbach came to Microsoft from Adobe Systems Inc. and, before that, Mitsubishi Electric, Radius, Claris and Apple Computer Inc.
Corporate VP Peter Rinearson, a former journalist and entrepreneur, is heading up the IW new markets division, which incubates new products, as well as develops new "accelerator" solutions comprised of products and add-on services. Rinearson also oversees Microsofts IW showcase - a model office of the future of which Microsoft offers tours - called the Center for Information Work.