Rating the Winners (and Losers) in the Latest Redmond Shuffle

Opinion: Microsoft made some noteworthy tweaks to its platform group, above and beyond naming a new Windows chief. Here's our scorecard for keeping track of the changes. (Microsoft Watch)

There are a couple of myths circulating about Microsofts latest reorganization, which was announced by the company on March 23.

Myth No. 1: The reshuffling inside Microsofts Platforms & Services Division occurred as a direct result of the delay in the Windows Vista launch (which Microsoft announced two days before the reorg). Microsoft officials claim the reorg was months in the making and has been scheduled to be announced this week "for quite some time," according to a corporate spokesman.

While I do find it hard to believe Microsoft didnt accelerate the timing of the reorg to try to restore confidence in the Windows unit, I do believe this sweeping reorg was not put together in a mere two days.

Myth No. 2: There was nothing more to this reorg than the appointment of Office leader Steven Sinofsky to oversee Windows engineering. The Sinofsky "promotion" (not sure wed consider being named Windows Mr.-Fix-It constitutes an upward career move) grabbed the most headlines. But there were a number of other interesting tidbits and tweaks that could have far-reaching implications for anyone keeping watch over the Redmond software giant.

So what else caught our eagle eyes here at Microsoft Watch?

  • Current Windows chief (and fall guy) Jim Allchin is officially now a figurehead. Our impression, at least until this weeks reorg, was Allchin would be running the Windows show until his retirement once Vista shipped. But as Platform & Services Division (PSD) Co-President Kevin Johnson noted in an internal memo detailing the reorg, Allchins direct reports are now reporting to Johnson himself, effective immediately.

"As part of the next step of Jims transition, we discussed when it was appropriate to move his direct reports to me, and decided that this organization change was the right time," Johnson wrote. However, "Jims overall partnership role with me in running PSD will not be changing."

So does anyone still report to Allchin? "At this time, (Microsofts 64-bit guru) Dave Cutler and a small administration staff report to him directly," said a company spokeswoman.

  • While Sinofsky is heading up Windows engineering, he also is running engineering for the Windows Live group. Gary Flake, the head of Microsofts LiveLabs is reporting directly to Sinofsky. On the Windows side of the house, Windows/Core Operating Systems Division veteran Chris Jones "continues to own the engineering deliverables for Windows Client to Windows Vista," according to Johnsons memo. And Amir Majidimehr and the Windows Digital Media Division now officially reports to Jones.

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