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Microsoft's Massive Re-Org: A Closer Look At The Big Exec Moves

Kevin McLaughlin

Microsoft has unveiled its long awaited re-organization Thursday, and it's a big one. The shuffle not only creates more than a half-dozen new units but also puts several lesser known Microsoft executives into prominent, front-line positions.

In an email to employees Thursday outlining the re-org, CEO Steve Ballmer said Microsoft is refocusing its engineering efforts on four main areas: operating systems, apps, cloud and devices.

This is a consolidation of Microsoft's previous approach, where products and technologies were more spread out across the different units. The goal here, Ballmer said in the email, is to be "more coherent for our users and developers."

[Related: Microsoft: Windows 8 Hardware Partners 'Have Finally Caught Up' With Touch ]

Ballmer is putting Terry Myerson, former corporate vice president of the Windows Phone unit, in charge of the new Operating Systems Engineering Group. This group will handle OS work for Microsoft's console (Xbox), mobile devices, PCs, back-end systems and cloud services connected to the OSes.

Putting the Windows Phone chief in charge of Windows is a great illustration of the seismic changes this re-org represents. It's also a big promotion for Myerson, a 16-year Microsoft vet who was tapped to replace Andy Lees as head of the Windows Phone unit in December 2011.

Julie Larson-Green, a 20-year vet who has been leading Windows hardware and software engineering since Steven Sinofsky left in November, is now in charge of Microsoft's new Devices and Studios Engineering Group.

This is another big promotion: Larson-Green will be responsible for "all hardware development and supply chain" for every device Microsoft builds, Ballmer said in the email.

This looks like it'll be a huge role: Ballmer, in a separate memo released Thursday, talked about a "family" of coming Windows devices, including phones, tablets, PCs, 2-in-1s and TV-connected devices.

Larson-Green will also lead Microsoft's games, music, video and other entertainment businesses, Ballmer said in the memo.

Tony Bates, the former Skype CEO who joined Microsoft in its 2011 acquisition of that company, has been tapped to lead the new Business Development and Evangelism Group. He'll lead partnerships with OEMs, chip vendors, third-party developers and relations with Nokia and Yahoo, Ballmer said in the email.

That's not all: Bates will also be responsible for the Developer and Platform Evangelism (DPE) unit, which lately has been leading Microsoft's efforts to connect with new types of developers it hasn't previously worked with.

NEXT: Microsoft Names Cloud, Marketing And Apps Leaders


Qi Lu, a search executive who joined Microsoft from Yahoo in 2008, will lead the new Applications and Services Engineering Group. Microsoft's Ballmer said Lu, who had been leading Bing, will be responsible for apps and services in productivity, communication and search, among others.

Though Bing hasn't gained much ground on Google, Microsoft hopes that turning Bing into a platform for developers to embed search into their apps will help. Bing is also powering the new Smart Search feature in Windows 8.1, which returns Web search results along with local results when a PC user does a search query.

Two longtime Microsoft executives are getting new roles that are similar to their old ones.

Satya Nadella, a 22-year Microsoft exec who's been leading Microsoft's $19 billion Server and Tools unit, is leading the new Cloud and Enterprise Engineering Group. Nadella will lead development of data center, database and other enterprise technologies and will also be in charge of Microsoft's data center construction and operations.

Tami Reller, a 12-year vet who's been holding down the Windows CFO and CMO jobs, will lead Microsoft's new Marketing group. She'll be assisted by Mark Penn, the former political public relations guru whom Microsoft hired last July to help hone its anti-Google marketing efforts.

Kurt DelBene, a 21-year Microsoft long-timer and president of the Office division, is not part of the new structure and will be retiring, Ballmer said.

PUBLISHED JULY 11, 2013

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