Microsoft's Restructuring Plan to Unify Device Units, Shake Up Executives
September 9, 2013 12:27 PM
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However, hardware and software units will be kept separate
Microsoft announced a restructuring plan back in July that would shift the inner workings of the tech company, and now, we're getting a glimpse of the changes that will take place as this plan is carried out thanks to
The new restructuring plan is called "One Microsoft," and the main idea is to bring the Windows Phone, PC and Xbox units closer together for a more seamless experience across multiple devices. This unified approach would make using multiple Microsoft devices easier for users who want a similar experience with details unique to each machine.
To execute this sort of unification, Microsoft is adjusting executive roles. For starters, Windows and Windows Phone head Terry Myerson will have at least seven direct reports under the new plan. They include leaders for development, test and program-management positions; those heading Microsoft's phone, tablet, PC, Xbox and service departments, and a person in charge of future special projects (such as smart watches).
Other leadership changes include putting Henry Sanders (who had worked with Myerson on Windows Phone) in head of development; having Joe Belfiore (also from the Windows Phone team) lead a group focused on phones, tablets and PCs; putting Marc Whitten in charge of the Xbox team, and allowing Chris Jones to continue heading services.
Some big executives were left out of the list, such as Windows testing head Grant George, Jon DeVaan and Windows services head Antoine Leblond. It's not clear if they will move to other positions in the company or leave quite yet, but their absence from the list of those being repositioned within raises a few red flags.
While Microsoft is looking to bring device departments together, the company will keep hardware and software units separate. This is a move
contradictory to that of Apple
, which only recently started pushing software and hardware units together in the development of devices like iPhones and iPads for a more integrated experience.
Microsoft is in a serious transition period, and many believe that it's much needed. Microsoft has had a difficult time stirring up enthusiasm for Windows Phone against competitors like Apple and Samsung, and the Windows maker was late to the tablet game -- releasing its Surface tablet in October 2012 after the iPad had already been out for over two years.
To make matters worse, Microsoft's Surface was initially released with the Windows RT operating system (the full Windows 8 Pro-powered Surface wasn't released until February 2013) and it was a major flop. Many say RT isn't a full Windows 8 experience, lacking the ability to run legacy apps.
While the decision to restructure Microsoft was helped by current CEO Steve Ballmer, it was announced last month that he
would be retiring
sometime in the next year. While he has said that he planned to retire himself, he's also made other statements that show he
wasn't ready to leave so soon
-- and that Microsoft's board may be pushing him out as part of the transition period.
All Things D
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Ignoring history to become Applesoft....
9/9/2013 3:43:58 PM
DECADES of sales showed that Microsoft's original approach, the selling of SOFTWARE that would run on ANYONE'S hardware, was a winning strategy. Having an open (to develop for) platform where anyone could write software for their platform didn't hurt either.
Unfortunately, all it took was a few years of Apple success for Microsoft to throw out all of the lessons learned during that time. Now they are hell bent on mimicking (poorly at that), Apple's strategy. Suddenly, Microsoft is going to make all of the hardware, they are going to erect a "walled garden", take 100% control over ALL of the software that will run on their hardware (incidentally taking away the RIGHT users have to run whatever software they want on the hardware they OWN), and shoving everything into their own "Windows Marketplace". Did I mention that MS now takes a 20%-30% cut of the GROSS revenue from developers for the dubious "privilege" of publishing an application on their platform?
They then kill off "legacy" products, replacing them with new, inferior offerings (I speak of killing off Windows Mobile, to be replaced with Windows Phone 7).
To make things even better (worse), they then kill off the "new" product, to make way for Windows Phone 8, flat out abandoning existing users (yet again) in favor of a new mobile OS that is STILL incompatible with RT or Windows 8!
Then, to top it all off, they shove a WORTHLESS UI down everyone's throats. They take usability and intuitive operation and throw it out the window just so they can get a half baked tablet on the market (3 years late to the party).
They are coasting on money earned from their corporate licensing divisions, which, for the most part, have avoided the new products like the plague that it is. But, this gravy train is going to come to a halt rather quickly, if they don't sort things out.
The clock is ticking, RIGHT NOW...and if Microsoft thinks they can compete in this day and age with CLOSED PROPRIETARY SYSTEMS, and a closed ecosystem, they are sadly misguided.
All of this doesn't even take into consideration the sad, broken, dysfunctional corporate culture that has been poisoning the well for many years...remember that great creative design team that gave us the prototype "Courier" tablet? Yeah, Management didn't like it, so those creative types got shuffled into the lowest level of Microsoft hell...the Office division. I am not sure if this was INTENDED as punishment for the team, but I can't think of a worse fate for a creative type than to be pushed into a division that lives and dies by excel spreadsheets! If this is representative of how MS treats it's creative team members, I am not surprised AT ALL by the poor quality of "Metro"!
Microsoft is a dead company, they just havent stopped moving yet. I give them 5 years, 7 tops, before the company is broken up and sold off for parts.
"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet. A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
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