Microsoft Promotes New Windows Division President

Microsoft names Steven Sinofsky, a 20-year Microsoft veteran, president of the Windows Division. The role involves overseeing the engineering and marketing for Windows, Windows Live and Internet Explorer, just ahead of the Oct. 22 rollout of Windows 7. Microsoft needs its new operating system to be a hit to overcome bad memories of Windows Vista and help keep revenues up in the midst of a global recession.

Microsoft July 8 promoted Steven Sinofsky, a 20-year veteran of the company, to president of the Windows Division. He previously led the Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group.

In his new position, Sinofsky will oversee both engineering and marketing for Windows, Windows Live and Internet Explorer, core properties of the company. Sinofsky assumes his role as Microsoft is battling substantial economic headwinds that have knocked down its revenue and profits.

"The work that [Sinofsky] and the team have done in getting ready to ship Windows 7 really defines how to develop and ship world-class software," Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, said in a July 8 statement.

Other shifts within the company include changes for Tami Reller, chief financial officer for the Windows Division, who will assume "the additional responsibility for marketing," and Bill Veghte, who will be moving into an as-yet-unnamed leadership role.

Microsoft is planning a huge push for Windows 7, its upcoming operating system, which revolves around cutting prices and offering free upgrades. Windows 7 is due to be released on Oct. 22, and the company is hoping that its tactics will build momentum going into the holiday selling season.

Free upgrades to Windows 7 are being offered for customers who purchase PCs currently loaded with Windows Vista, Microsoft's previous and much-maligned operating system. However, Microsoft is also limiting the number of free upgrades to 25 PCs per company, something that could complicate purchases for small and midsize businesses currently on the crux of a hardware refresh.

Windows 7 will sell for roughly 10 percent less than Vista, on top of substantial discounts that retail partners are already offering. For purchasers in the United States, the Windows 7 Home Premium upgrade will cost $119.99 instead of $129.99, while the full retail version will cost roughly $40 less than the Vista version.