Microsoft OEM Program Exec Steps Aside


The Microsoft executive who manages the software company's relationships with PC and device makers is stepping down from the position and will take on a new role at Microsoft when he returns from a sabbatical.

The management change follows Microsoft's recent debut of the Microsoft Surface tablet, a Microsoft-branded product that will compete with tablet devices from long-time Microsoft OEM partners.

Steven Guggenheimer stepped down as corporate vice president of Microsoft's OEM Division effective July 1, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek story. In that role Guggenheimer managed Microsoft's relationships with hardware partners like Acer, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo and Samsung.

[Related: Cool Technology, Cold Shoulder? Microsoft Partners Want A Piece Of The Surface Tablet Action]

Nick Parker, who previously managed the OEM Division's marketing efforts, was named to replace Guggenheimer.

The management changes had been planned for some time and were unrelated to the Microsoft Surface tablet announcement, Microsoft spokesman Frank Shaw told Bloomberg Businessweek. Microsoft spokespersons didn't immediately confirm the story.

Currently, the Apple iPad and tablets running Google's Android operating system dominate the tablet computer market. Microsoft reportedly developed its own tablet because it was dissatisfied with the tablet products produced by the PC manufacturer partners.

Surface runs on Windows 8, the next generation of Microsoft's flagship operating system the company has designed specifically with tablet computers in mind. Microsoft is counting on Windows 8, which will run on x86- and ARM-based tablet computers, to gain traction in the tablet market when it debuts later this year.

PC manufacturers have generally stayed quiet about Microsoft's Surface since its launch. But some have said they had no knowledge of the company's plans and were surprised by the June 18 announcement.

Last week, HP said its first Windows 8 tablet will be an x86 model and the company hadn't decided whether it would develop a tablet running Windows RT, the version of Windows 8 designed for ARM-based devices. Some observers interpreted that move as a refusal by HP to support Microsoft's strategy of selling x86 and ARM versions of Windows 8.

PUBLISHED JULY 2, 2012