Microsoft Shakes Up Windows Unit

Updated: Just days after announcing a delay in when Windows Vista will ship, Microsoft significantly restructures its Platforms & Services Division.

Just days after announcing a delay in when Windows Vista will ship, Microsoft has significantly restructured its Platforms & Services Division and appointed Steve Sinofsky, who has headed the Office team until now, to lead the Windows and Windows Live groups, giving him broad responsibility for planning future versions of Windows.

While the Redmond, Wash., company is saying the reorganization is designed to better align the existing Windows and MSN assets with Microsofts overall Live strategy, some sources tell eWEEK that the delay in the release of Windows Vista was the catalyst for the move, more so than Microsofts stated goal of "ensuring the company delivers a full range of software-based services to consumers and businesses around the world."

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read more about Microsofts rationale for delaying the release of Vista.

Sinofsky is credited with running a tight ship and sticking to internal and shipping deadlines, a characteristic Microsoft is no doubt hoping he will bring to the Windows development teams going forward.

Kevin Johnson, co-president of Microsofts PSD along with Jim Allchin, intimated as much, saying in a statement that one of the goals driving the change was to "increase Microsofts agility in delivering innovation to customers."

The restructured PSD organization will continue to be led by Allchin and Johnson until Allchin retires next year as planned, at which time Johnson will become sole president of the division.

/zimages/6/28571.gifTo read Allchins remarks earlier this year on the possibility of an upcoming Microsoft reorganization, click here.

"As we launch new Windows Live services and finalize Windows Vista, were looking ahead to how we deliver the best possible experience for customers, now and into the future. Today we are enhancing the leadership team and structure across the division to ensure we have the right organization to support our technology vision," Johnson said in a statement on March 23.

The new PSD is made up of eight new and existing groups: the Windows and Windows Live Group, led by Steven Sinofsky, senior vice president; the Windows Live Platform Group, led by Blake Irving, corporate vice president; the Online Business Group, led by David Cole, senior vice president; the Market Expansion Group, led by Will Poole, senior vice president; the COSD (Core Operating System Division), led by Brian Valentine, senior vice president; the Windows Client Marketing Group, led by Mike Sievert, corporate vice president; the Developer and Platform Evangelism Group, led by Sanjay Parthasarathy, corporate vice president; and the Server and Tools Business Group, led by Bob Muglia, senior vice president.

Allchin will also work closely with Valentine to deliver Windows Vista, Microsoft said, adding that Valentines mission remained focused on shipping Vista. Sinofsky will assume responsibility for the process and planning of future versions of Windows, the company said.

/zimages/6/28571.gifA Microsoft memo details the reorganization. Click here to read the memo.

A Microsoft spokesperson declined to say who would replace Sinofsky and head the development of the Office suite of products. Sinofsky will "stay involved in transition mode through May. Jeff Raikes, the president of Microsofts business division, will be working with Sinofsky and his team to develop the best leadership structure for the future of Office," she told eWEEK.

Sinofsky will work closely with chief technology officer Ray Ozzie and Blake Irving to support Microsofts services strategy across the division and company.

In addition to these changes, Mike Nash will be moving from his job as lead for the Security Technology Unit to a new role that is not being announced at this time. Ben Fathi will succeed Nash in leading security efforts.

Yusuf Mehdi, senior vice president, is taking on a new role as chief advertising strategist, where he will have a key part in shaping Microsofts strategy for targeting the growing online advertising market, and will report directly to Johnson.

Martin Taylor, appointed a corporate vice president, will transition from the Server and Tools business to lead Windows Live and MSN Marketing. Taylor will run product management and marketing for Windows Live services, and the companys Live Platforms, focusing on developing the brand and bringing new service innovations to customers, Microsoft said. Taylor was responsible for leading Microsofts controversial "Get the Facts" anti-Linux research campaign.

Will Poole, who previously ran the Windows Client business, will be moving to lead the newly created Market Expansion Group within the Platforms and Services Division, focused on emerging markets and new form factors.

"Establishing an organization with product marketing and research and development responsibilities will bring focus to this key growth area for Microsoft and its potential customers around the world through products such as Windows XP Starter Edition and the recently launched Ultra-Mobile PC devices," the company said.

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