I have been a somewhat pessimistic and savage critic of both Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Steve Ballmer at the helm.
In an article I wrote here, I was cautiously optimistic about the positive changes a re-org could bring to Microsoft.
Today though, I have nothing but praise for the re-org that Mr. Ballmer has put in place.
In a new memo sent to all of Microsoft's 100,000 employees, Mr. Ballmer put a new set of people in charge at the worlds largest software company.
our teams and their leaders will be these:
- Operating Systems Engineering Group. Terry Myerson will lead this group, and it will span all our OS work for console, to mobile device, to PC, to back-end systems. The core cloud services for the operating system will be in this group.
- Devices and Studios Engineering Group. Julie Larson-Green will lead this group and will have all hardware development and supply chain from the smallest to the largest devices we build. Julie will also take responsibility for our studios experiences including all games, music, video and other entertainment.
- Applications and Services Engineering Group. Qi Lu will lead broad applications and services core technologies in productivity, communication, search and other information categories.
- Cloud and Enterprise Engineering Group. Satya Nadella will lead development of our back-end technologies like datacenter, database and our specific technologies for enterprise IT scenarios and development tools. He will lead datacenter development, construction and operation.
- Dynamics. Kirill Tatarinov will continue to run Dynamics as is, but his product leaders will dotted line report to Qi Lu, his marketing leader will dotted line report to Tami Reller and his sales leader will dotted line report to the COO group.
- Advanced Strategy and Research Group. Eric Rudder will lead Research, Trustworthy Computing, teams focused on the intersection of technology and policy, and will drive our cross-company looks at key new technology trends.
- Marketing Group. Tami Reller will lead all marketing with the field relationship as is today. Mark Penn will take a broad view of marketing strategy and will lead with Tami the newly centralized advertising and media functions.
- COO. Kevin Turner will continue leading our worldwide sales, field marketing, services, support, and stores as well as IT, licensing and commercial operations.
- Business Development and Evangelism Group. Tony Bates will focus on key partnerships especially our innovation partners (OEMs, silicon vendors, key developers, Yahoo, Nokia, etc.) and our broad work on evangelism and developer outreach. DPE, Corporate Strategy and the business development efforts formerly in the BGs will become part of this new group. OEM will remain in SMSG with Kevin Turner with a dotted line to Tony who will work closely with Nick Parker on key OEM relationships.
- Finance Group. Amy Hood will centralize all product group finance organizations. SMSG finance, which is geographically diffuse, will report to Kevin Turner with a dotted line to Amy.
- Legal and Corporate Affairs Group. Brad Smith will continue as General Counsel with responsibility for the company's legal and corporate affairs and will map his team to the new organization.
- HR Group. Lisa Brummel will lead Human Resources and map her team to the new organization.
Some interesting things to note here.
Julie Larson-Green is not leading Windows anymore. That's a pretty big change in terms of the voice and vision behind the world's most popular Operating System.
Over the coming days, we will probably hear stories about the reasons behind that shift.
Terry Myerson is now the head honcho behind Windows. The former leader of the Windows Phone division, he hasn't been a very vocal spokesperson at the company.
It will be interesting to see what his vision is for Windows. His bio is here.
The only other personality that caught my eye here was Mark Penn.
Mark Penn will take a broad view of marketing strategy and will lead with Tami the newly centralized advertising and media functions.
For those who don't know, Mark Penn is a well known political strategist and analyst in the United Stares. It's a curious thing that he has such an elevated role in the new Microsoft and investors should keep and eye on the influence he has on advertising and marketing.
Mark Penn does have a very polarizing background and the last thing he was associated with wasn't very successful (Hilary Clinton's failed presidential bid).
From Business Insider:
He's (Mark Penn) known as "a lightning rod" and "a longtime political operative known for his brusque personality and scorched-earth tactics," according to The New York Times.
Since August, Penn has been leading Microsoft's anti-Google efforts, including its "Don't Get Scroogled!" campaign, which suggests that Google is using your personal data for sneaky advertising purposes.
From an investment perspective, the changes look solid and they make sense.
The groups have been arranged intuitively and Microsoft seems poised to become a very aggressive and competitive software company.
From Mr. Ballmer:
We are rallying behind a single strategy as one company - not a collection of divisional strategies. Although we will deliver multiple devices and services to execute and monetize the strategy, the single core strategy will drive us to set shared goals for everything we do. We will see our product line holistically, not as a set of islands. We will allocate resources and build devices and services that provide compelling, integrated experiences across the many screens in our lives, with maximum return to shareholders. All parts of the company will share and contribute to the success of core offerings, like Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox, Surface, Office 365 and our EA offer, Bing, Skype, Dynamics, Azure and our servers. All parts of the company will contribute to activating high-value experiences for our customers.
We will reshape how we interact with our customers, developers and key innovation partners, delivering a more coherent message and family of product offerings. The evangelism and business development team will drive partners across our integrated strategy and its execution. Our marketing, advertising and all our customer interaction will be designed to reflect one company with integrated approaches to our consumer and business marketplaces.
How we organize our engineering efforts will also change to reflect this strategy. We will pull together disparate engineering efforts today into a coherent set of our high-value activities. This will enable us to deliver the most capability - and be most efficient in development and operations - with the greatest coherence to all our key customers. We will plan across the company, so we can better deliver compelling integrated devices and services for the high-value experiences and core technologies around which we organize. This new planning approach will look at both the short-term deliverables and long-term initiatives needed to meet the shipment cadences of both Microsoft and third-party devices and our services.
This means we will organize the company by function: Engineering (including supply chain and datacenters), Marketing, Business Development and Evangelism, Advanced Strategy and Research, Finance, HR, Legal, and COO (including field, support, commercial operations and IT). Each discipline will help drive our overall strategy. Each discipline will also be charged with improving our core capabilities in its area. We must improve in all aspects of the business.
It's all very well written and reflect a lot of deep thought about where the company is going and what they need to get there.
A blogger friend of mine said that the announcement does emphasize the diminished importance of Windows within the company and I agree. Microsoft is officially a devices and services company and this re-org reinforces that notion.
I would urge all investors to read the text and be excited about the potential of a new Microsoft.
Very well written and now we have to watch and see the company follow up with action.
Side Note: From a Microsoft employee perspective, watch out. Reorgs usually are followed by layoffs.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.
Additional disclosure: I am the CEO of Learn About The Web Inc. - www.learnabouttheweb.com. While I have no business relationship with Microsoft of any sort, I am the owner and editor of several Windows websites (Windows8update.com, Windowsblue.com, Windows81.com etc).