Microsoft Appoints New IT CIO

UPDATED: As CIO of the company's IT organization, Ron Markezich says his top priority will be making sure that Microsoft products run well internally before their release to customers.

Microsoft Corp. on Friday promoted Ron Markezich to CIO of its IT organization. He had been the general manager of finance and administration in that department.

Markezich will report to Rick Devenuti, who has been serving as both Microsofts corporate vice president of worldwide services and as IT CIO after the previous head of services, Mike Sinneck, left the company last year.

Microsoft has used its IT department for some time now as one of the primary testers of its upcoming products, with software such as Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 running the companys actual desktops, servers, Web sites and day-to-day operations for as long as a year before those products became release candidates.

Markezich told eWEEK in an interview Friday that this would continue to be his No. 1 priority as an organization: making sure that Microsoft runs its products well internally before their release to customers, so it gets that feedback directly to the product teams. "We will continue to be Microsofts first and best customer," he said.

The IT organization, which comprises about 3,800 staff members, including Microsoft employees, vendors and contingent staff, starts testing software under development in its labs as early as the alpha stage, which is before any public betas. Deployment in its production environments takes place once the public betas are released, he said.

A few thousand client machines are already running early builds of the Longhorn client, the next version of Windows, on the network, he said, adding that its too early for that with the Longhorn server code.

"We are working very closely with the Longhorn server product team on those builds, as there are a lot of features in Longhorn that we are looking to take advantage of in our IT environment," he said.

Other products under development that are being run in production environments include Whidbey, the next update to Visual Studio .Net, and Yukon, the next version of SQL Server, Markezich said.

Next Page: Sharing goals between the IT and product teams.