Microsofts Core OS Division: A Status Report

More than a year ago, Microsoft reorganized its Windows team in the name of achieving 'engineering excellence.' How have things shaken out?

Back in December 2003, Microsoft Corp. shuffled its Windows platforms group and created the unified Core Operating Systems Division. COSDs charter: To ensure Windows "engineering excellence."

Whats happened since then? Slowly but surely, COSD has been finding its way, according to one of the key movers and shakers on the COSD team, Rob Short, corporate vice president of Windows Core Technology.

Short, a longtime Windows veteran, works under Brian Valentine, the head of COSD (who, in turn, works for the group vice president of platforms, Jim Allchin).

"A few years ago, it was clear we needed to change things. From an engineering point of view, we realized we needed to better understand things like the process and the architecture," Short told Microsoft Watch.

"The security disaster really shook people up here. Never in our wildest dreams had we thought about the kinds of malicious attacks that could result," he said. And, at the same time, "we wanted to be able to do more predictable (Windows) scheduling.

"Some companies would just allow their staff people to undertake these kinds of challenges as just one more piece of their regular jobs. But not here," Short said.

Allchin ended up hand-picking a team of people—almost all of whom were Windows client or server veterans with impressive and lengthy pedigrees—to focus on what are considered the core components of Windows. Specifically: the kernel, I/O system; core devices; setup; and all the build properties.

Short said he was not permitted to divulge how many people are part of COSD. But he did detail COSDs structure.

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