Microsoft Focuses on Developers in Reorg

Microsoft tweaks the structure of its Developer Division to focus on existing developers and attract new ones in the hotly contested software space.

Although Microsoft has already made a name for itself in getting close with its developers, the company is looking at ways to get even cozier with its developer base.

In an internal memo, reported by All About Microsoft, the head of Microsoft's Developer Division says the company will focus on bringing in new developers to Microsoft platforms.

Following the MIX11 conference and heading into Microsoft's developer conference in September, S. Somasegar, senior vice president of the Microsoft Developer Division, said, "We are making a number of organizational changes in DevDiv that are intended to set us up for even more success in attracting developers to Microsoft platforms and in gaining a leadership position in cloud computing."

Somasegar added in the memo: "The changes we are announcing today will help us focus and execute on our developer strategy more effectively to attract developers to Microsoft platforms and drive platform pull-through. With engineering, marketing and evangelism working together even more closely, we will also be able to execute better on our plans to drive usage of our developer tools more broadly and grow to a $2 billion-plus business."

In a MIX11 keynote, Steven Sinofsky, president of Windows and Windows Live at Microsoft, announced that Microsoft's "next developer conference" would be held Sept. 13-16 in Anaheim, Calif. The conference is being viewed as the equivalent of, or successor to, the Microsoft PDC (Professional Developers Conference).

Meanwhile, Somasegar's memo covers a vast reorganization-featuring several key managers and technical personnel-that indicates the seriousness of the moves. In particular, Microsoft is moving coding golden boy and developer favorite Scott Guthrie, the Microsoft corporate vice president who headed .NET development and championed Silverlight, to Windows Azure.

Emphasizing the importance of this move, Somasegar said in the memo:

"[We are] sharpening our Focus around Azure and Cloud Computing. Azure and the cloud are incredibly important initiatives that will play a huge role in the future success of STB [the Server and Tools Business] and the company. Given the strategic importance of Cloud Computing for STB and Microsoft, we need a strong leader to help drive the development of our Cloud Application Platform and help us win developers for Azure. We've asked Scott Guthrie to take on this challenge and lead the Azure Application Platform team that will report to Ted Kummert in BPD [the Business Platform Division]. This team will combine the Web Platform & Tools team led by Bill Staples, the Application Server Group led by Abhay Parasnis and the Portal and Lightweight Role teams from the Windows Azure team. Scott's transition is bittersweet for me. I personally will miss him very much, but I'm confident that Scott will bring tremendous value to our application platform. With Scott's current organization finishing up important milestones, the timing is right for Scott to take on this role."

Whether Guthrie's move will mean anything in particular about the future of Silverlight is yet to be seen. However, Microsoft committed to continuing to support Silverlight as well as HTML5 technology in the Windows platform's Internet Explorer 9 operating system.

Somasegar also said Microsoft is consolidating developer tools marketing and evangelism functions into the Developer Division. "This change will enable us to work together more tightly to build the right products, as well as to market, evangelize and sell them the right way. This enables us to continue to be the champions for the developer audience at Microsoft and work closely with the platform teams to deliver a compelling developer story."

With this in mind, the DPE (Developer Platform and Evangelism) team led by Walid Abu-Hadba will report to Somasegar. Meanwhile, the Student Evangelism team, led by Jon Perera will be joining DPE from the Microsoft Office Division and will continue their focus and charter of winning the hearts and minds of students and the academic community. And, said Somasegar, "The Developer Tools Marketing team, including the Product Management team led by Dave Mendlen, the Outbound Developer team led by Angus Norton, the Developer Business team led by Kara Westhusing, the Developer Tracker Survey run by Maureen Hughes, and the Silverlight Marketing team, will report to Mitra Azizirad. Mitra has been with the company for 19 years in a variety of business and strategic leadership roles and has been a leader in helping us be a $1 billion-plus tools business."