It's Official: Microsoft Taps 17-Year Vet Guthrie To Head Cloud And Enterprise Unit

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Azure has emerged as the epicenter of Microsoft's growing focus on cross-platform support, and Guthrie is seen in the channel as a big reason why Microsoft's cloud supports multiple programming languages and frameworks.

Guthrie is also a fan of Xamarin, a mobile startup whose tools make it possible to code iOS and Android apps using Microsoft development tools. In an interview with CRN last October, Guthrie described Xamarin's tools as a good fit for Microsoft developers. 

"One nice thing about Xamarin is that it lets you use your C# and .NET skills to build native iOS and Android applications," Guthrie told CRN at the time. "It's a great way for customers that are familiar with Visual Studio and C# to use their same skills -- and in many cases, the same code -- and actually run it natively on different mobile form factors."

The following month, Microsoft and Xamarin unveiled a wide-ranging technical and marketing partnership. As first reported by CRN earlier this month, Microsoft has recently talked with Xamarin about an acquisition or major investment in the San Francisco-based startup.

It wasn't long ago that Microsoft would have viewed a technology like Xamarin as a threat that might enrich rival platforms. But under Nadella, Microsoft has begun articulating a shift to a new way of thinking that includes supporting non-Microsoft technologies. Evidence came last week in the form of Microsoft's first Office apps designed for iPads, and a new cloud-based mobile device management service that handles Android and iOS devices.

Guthrie, as head of Azure, also has been part of Microsoft's shift toward embracing outside technologies. For these and other reasons, Brust believes he's the right pick to lead the Cloud and Enterprise unit.  

"Overall he’s a humble, good-natured person who, nonetheless, understands how to navigate company politics when he needs to," Brust said. "Putting him in a strong leadership position is an excellent, if somewhat obvious, move and should greatly help Microsoft going forward."


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