1The 25 Most Influential People at Microsoft
Among Microsoft’s 70,000-plus employees, there are many influential people. Twenty-five is too small a number to capture the best of the best among a large group of creative people. But Microsoft corporate culture also is very staid and insular, with a top-heavy power structure. Therefore, for this list, I focused more on operational influencers, although there are some thought leaders included.
By Joe Wilcox, Microsoft Watch
3The 25 Most Influential People at Microsoft – 25. Mini-Microsoft
4The 25 Most Influential People at Microsoft – 24. Mike Sievert
5The 25 Most Influential People at Microsoft – 23. Danl Lewin
3. Dan’l Lewin, Corporate Vice President, Strategic and Emerging Business Development
Lewin ranks so low because the real measure of his influence is outside Microsoft. Located in Silicon Valley, Lewin is responsible for relationships with partners that often are competitors (for example, Intuit and Sun) and with venture capitalists.
6The 25 Most Influential People at Microsoft – 22. Simon Witts
22. Simon Witts, Corporate Vice President, Enterprise and Partner Group
Simon “Mr. Enterprise” Witts oversees Microsoft’s worldwide enterprise business, and he is hugely influential over partner strategy. Enterprise customers are Microsoft’s meat and potatoes. Partners cook the food. (Honorable mention: Allison Watson, Corporate Vice President, Worldwide Partner Group)
7The 25 Most Influential People at Microsoft – 21. Steve Berkowitz
21. Steve Berkowitz, Senior Vice President, Online Services Group
Berkowitz is hugely influential, but finding the right place for him on this list wasn’t easy. The former Ask.com CEO is responsible for one of Microsoft’s most important growth areas. If not for the aQuantive acquisition–and the following shift in corporate roles–Berkowitz would have ranked much higher. He’s an outsider willing to take chances, which works for and against the extent of his influence.
8The 25 Most Influential People at Microsoft – 20. Debra Chrapaty
20. Debra Chrapaty, Corporate Vice President, Global Foundation Services
What is the measure of influence? Chrapaty is Microsoft’s hard-hat girl, responsible for keeping an expanding mass of data centers operational. She’s not necessarily a thought leader, yet her influence is immeasurable, particularly as Microsoft builds out its services platform. Her star is rapidly rising.
9The 25 Most Influential People at Microsoft – 19. Craig Mundie
19. Craig Mundie, Chief Research and Strategy Officer
Underlings define great leaders. Mundie deserves to be in the Top 15, but influencers in other research projects rank higher, in part because of his work. Mundie is cerebral, and so he’s not the most fluid public speaker. But he’s got vision, which he communicates where it matters most. Microsoft’s best work is coming out of its incubation projects, which are reshaping how the company brings products to market. Mundie is the incubation thought and operational leader.
10The 25 Most Influential People at Microsoft – 18. Pieter Knook
18. Pieter Knook, Senior Vice President, Mobile Communications Business Microsoft’s Windows Mobile business has hugely grown under Knook’s leadership. Mobile is a strategic business that will grow in importance, particularly as more handsets are used for data as well as voice. Microsoft is heavily investing in mobile technologies, particularly as it looks to future advertising revenue possibilities. Knook’s star also is rising.
11The 25 Most Influential People at Microsoft – 17. Michael Howard
12The 25 Most Influential People at Microsoft – 16. Gary Flake
16. Gary Flake, Director, Live Labs
Flake is another Microsoft thought leader, but one with increasing product influence-and in an area that’s strategic for Microsoft. The research coming from Live Labs is setting Microsoft’s competitive Web 2.0 agenda. What’s lacking: better platform approach for third-party developers.
13The 25 Most Influential People at Microsoft – 15. Jean-Philippe Courtois
14The 25 Most Influential People at Microsoft – 14. Kevin Johnson
15The 25 Most Influential People at Microsoft – 13. Rick Rashid
13. Rick Rashid, Senior Vice President, Research
Rashid is charged with running Microsoft’s worldwide research operation. Microsoft Research is a rocket ship reaching escape velocity. The division showcases Microsoft’s best talent, develops amazing new technologies and brings great respect to the company. Rashid’s present and future influence is immeasurable.
16The 25 Most Influential People at Microsoft – 12. Bill Hilf
17The 25 Most Influential People at Microsoft – 11. Robbie Bach
18The 25 Most Influential People at Microsoft – 10. Bob Muglia
10. Bob Muglia, Senior Vice President, Server and Tools Business
The future is Muglia’s, if the launches of the 2008 versions of SQL Server, Visual Studio and Windows Server go well. Infrastructure software isn’t sexy, yet some of Microsoft’s best marketing campaigns have been for its server software.
19The 25 Most Influential People at Microsoft – 9. Steven Sinofsky
9. Steven Sinofsky, Senior Vice President, Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group
The former Office go-to man is responsible for cleaning up the mess left by Windows Vista. Vista’s successor, Windows Seven, needs to get to market in a timely way and without all the baggage, some of which is code and practical logistics. Already, Sinofsky is bringing renewed discipline to Windows development and laying the foundation for Microsoft’s emerging Windows Vista plus Windows Live strategy.
20The 25 Most Influential People at Microsoft – 8. J Allard
8. J Allard, Corporate Vice President, Design and Development, Entertainment and Devices Division
Allard is Microsoft’s rising rock star–he’s transformed from geek to cool geek. While best known for Zune, Allard’s responsibilities and influence are much broader. His challenges are equally broad, as he seeks to make more Microsoft products cool.
21The 25 Most Influential People at Microsoft – 7. Brian McAndrews
7. Brian McAndrews, Senior Vice President, Advertiser and Publisher Solutions Group
McAndrews is a relative Microsoft newcomer, but he is responsible for one of the company’s most strategic growth areas. The former aQquantive CEO joined Microsoft during the ad company’s acquisition last year. Microsoft invested $6 billion in aQuantive, so the pressure is on McAndrews to deliver results.
22The 25 Most Influential People at Microsoft – 6. Chris Liddell
6. Chris Liddell, Chief Financial Officer
Microsoft runs one of the fiscally tightest ships on the planet. Any person responsible for the money is going to be influential. Liddell continues Microsoft’s long tradition of frugality while embracing a new era of risk: Microsoft is on an acquisitions spree. His Wall Street guidance in the face of economic uncertainties will hugely affect Microsoft, its partners and world markets.
23The 25 Most Influential People at Microsoft – 5. Brad Smith
5. Brad Smith, Senior Vice President, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary, Legal & Corporate Affairs
Microsoft is a company under the oversight of European and U.S. trustbusters, and some Microsofties joke that the ratio of lawyers to employees is 1:1. But Smith’s influence is much larger than Microsoft’s legal problems. Under his leadership, Microsoft adopted a more conciliatory approach and sought to work more cooperatively with governments. Smith is the voice of reason and cooperation for people inside and outside Microsoft.
24The 25 Most Influential People at Microsoft – 4. Steve Ballmer
4. Steve Ballmer, CEO
Microsoft’s chief executive isn’t the company’s chief influencer. In fact, his influence is declining as he takes on more of Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates’ outside speaking and customer engagements. Ballmer is still the man in charge–and he’s a reckoning force–but his responsibilities are increasingly larger than day-to-day operations.
25The 25 Most Influential People at Microsoft – 3. Lisa Brummell
3. Lisa Brummell, Senior Vice President, Human Resources
It’s not surprising that the head of human resources would be an influencer–except perhaps in the case of Brummell. Brummel’s roots aren’t HR. Prior to her current position, she worked for 10 years in Microsoft’s Home & Retail division. But she’s known within Microsoft as being a people person and astute networker. Her presence and personality carry huge influence.