Microsofts Server and Tools Rudder-less

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2005-10-27

Microsofts Server and Tools Rudder-less

Microsofts Server and Tools Division is now Rudder-less, but that does not mean it is without direction.

Microsoft on Thursday announced more fallout from its recent reorganization, this time naming company veteran Bob Muglia as the replacement to Eric Rudder as senior vice president of server and tools.

Rudder has received rave reviews from peers for having set the tone that many expect Muglia to follow for the division.

Last month, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced the reorganization of the company into three divisions and as part of the changes, announced that Rudder, who had been running the server and tools business, would leave that post to report directly to Microsoft chairman Bill Gates on setting the companys overall technical vision.

On Thursday, Microsoft announced that Muglia would take over servers and tools and report directly to Jim Allchin, co-president of the Platforms Products & Services Division at Microsoft.

Meanwhile, sources said upon hearing the news last month Rudders reaction was volatile despite his new position being viewed by many as possibly a period of preparation to succeed Gates in setting the companys technology vision down the road.

Click here to read more about Microsofts reorganization plan.

And while the division has been without Rudder at the helm for the last several weeks, it has been and will be anything but rudderless.

In a memo viewed by eWEEK that was distributed to the Server and Tools business unit Thursday, Platforms Products & Services Division co-presidents Allchin and Kevin Johnson wrote: "As you all know, Bob has been leading the Windows Server business for the last 2 years, with both business and development responsibility for Windows Server and our enterprise storage and management businesses.

"Bob is a 17-year Microsoft veteran, and has served in a variety of business and technical positions, including managing the development of MSN, Office, Windows Server, and Visual Studio. We are very fortunate to have the combination of Bobs rich Microsoft history and passion for customers and engineering excellence in this STB leadership position as part of the broader Platforms and Services Division."

Moreover, "The Server & Tools business (STB) has been, and will remain, a key contributor to Microsofts growth, the memo said.

"In FY05, you contributed $10 billion in revenue and 16 percent growth to the companys overall financial performance! With a strong STB innovation pipeline coming to market, we want to continue to build on that great momentum."

Next Page: Structural changes.

Structural Changes

In addition, the memo said, "We are announcing three changes in reporting structure also effective today. First, Sanjay Parthasarathy and the Developer & Platform Evangelism (D&PE) team will now report directly to Kevin Johnson.

"This will allow us to expand that teams charter to focus on winning developers across our entire platform, including client, server, and services. Sanjay will continue to drive the worldwide D&PE mission."

Secondly, Allchin and Johnson said "Simon Witts [Corporate Vice President, Enterprise and Partner Group] and the Enterprise Platform Group (EPG) will continue to have a dual reporting relationship across SMSG [Sales, Marketing and Services Group] and STB, but with solid line reporting to Kevin Turner, Chief Operating Officer."

And, "Third, we are realigning the Natural Interactive Services Division (NISD) group," the memo said.

"This team has done fantastic work covering a variety of leadership customer scenarios including speech, natural language input, a dynamic assistance platform, and a new speech server product."

Meanwhile, many Microsoft insiders from Jim Allchin to S "Soma" Somasegar, corporate vice president of developer tools, to Rick LaPlante, general manager of Visual Studio 2005 Team System, told eWEEK that Rudder was the spark for Microsofts push to become more transparent in giving outside developers more information.

Indeed, Microsofts switch from a closed-mouthed software developer to one committed to transparency is seen as Rudders legacy.

For instance, way back in an interview with eWEEK in 2003, Rudder noted the impact the open-source movement had an effect on his thinking and on the Microsoft development organization as he saw it.

Asked how open source had affected him, Rudder said: "I think there are lots of aspects to open source, and the one thats affected me the most profoundly is really the way community is used in open source.

"And the way people really can get their opinions heard, and the way people can share their work with others. And the way people can feel supported and get their questions answered.

"And it really has changed how we think about running the business. Literally encouraging people to participate in community, running betas on a more active basis, being more transparent in our roadmap—sharing the roadmap for Whidbey and for Orcas and for what features are going to be in what.

"Really giving access to technology; really, literally building community into the product so that people can communicate with their peers who are working on similar issues."

Next Page: Transparency.


In a recent interview with eWEEK prior to the announcement of Muglias succession, LaPlante said: "My take is twofold, Eric and I started on the same day 17 and a half years ago, so I know him fairly well. He is a passionate guy. He understands our business better than just about anybody.

"Eric was the push for transparency, Eric was the push for shorter development cycles, Eric fundamentally believes that Microsoft is driven by this business. And so having him work for Bill, driving that I think is very good for the customer and very good for business overall."

Moreover, said LaPlante, "I think that people embraced it. People feel so much better about the transparency we have, and people feel so much better about the way were planning the next products and the focus that were having.

"I think he kicked off the right set of things and the organization is starting to live it now. So the net is net positive. Its hard to have someone who was such a strong leader not run the business anymore, but I think well find a strong leader for the business."

Muglia is that person, according to Allchin and Johnson.

His bio on the Microsoft site says Muglia is a member of the Technical Senior Leadership Team, which is responsible for developing Microsofts technical direction.

He is also a member of the Business Leadership Team, which is responsible for broad strategic and business planning across the company, the bio said.

Also, Muglia is no stranger to the tools business.

His bio says he helped to bring together the Visual Studio family of developer tools and drive the Win32 API, customer requirements and product specification for the Windows NT operating system.

And "Since joining Microsoft in January 1988, Muglia has served in a variety of positions, including managing the development of the MSN network of Internet services and Microsoft Office family of business productivity applications, Windows Server applications, and productivity appliances such as Pocket PCs, eBooks and Tablet PCs," the Muglia bio said.

Although Muglias role with server and tools become effective following the Nov. 7 launch of Visual Studio 2005, SQL Server 2005 and BizTalk 2006, "Bob will temporarily continue in his role as leader of the Windows Server business, until a new structure is announced within the next couple of months," the memo said.

"In addition to his current direct reports, Bob will also have the following businesses and their leaders reporting to him: Windows Server System, Paul Flessner; Developer Tools, S. "Soma" Somasegar; Marketing, Andy Lees; Finance, Peter Klein; and Business Manager, Amy Hood," the memo said.

Meanwhile, in a separate memo sent by Sanjay Parthasarathy to the Developer and Platform Evangelism (DP&E) team and viewed by eWEEK, Parthasarathy said: "I am excited to announce that the Developer & Platform Evangelism HQ organization will move to report to Kevin Johnson... This organizational change formalizes D&PEs charter across the entire Microsoft platform, including client, server and services."

Added Parthasarathy: "The next five years are going to be very interesting as we have the opportunity to connect up Vista, Office, Windows Mobile devices, Web sites and other end user assets to the .Net and server infrastructure that is in place in enterprises and on the Internet.

"Our work on evangelizing the developer and IT pro infrastructure will continue, and we have the opportunity to add a greater focus on user experience. We have an opportunity to deliver the most exciting, complete and compelling vision to the broad developer community, ISVs, enterprises and academia."

Some developers were indifferent about the move.

"I am 100 percent indifferent," said Stephen Forte, chief technology officer at Corzen Inc., NY. "If they put Allchin in charge, that would be a different story. We like him."

Mike Sax, president of Sax Software Inc., Eugene, Ore., said he has "no strong feelings either way... I think hes been in this area before in some shape or form, so Im sure hell do a good job."

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