Yesterday, Microsoft executives revealed that the company is reorganizing its Platforms Group around a new division that will be charged with developing core Windows technologies. The company announced the Windows Core Operating System Division to employees and moved 3000 of the Platforms Group's 14,000 workers into the new division. Senior Vice President Brian Valentine, who has overseen Windows development since late 1998, when Windows NT 5.0 morphed into Windows 2000, will run the new division, which will concentrate on the Windows core code, including its kernel, networking stack, and localization technologies. Corporate Vice President Chris Jones, who was previously responsible for the core technologies in Windows Longhorn, the next major Windows version, is also moving to Valentine's new division.
This week's reshuffling is a visible example of Group Vice President Jim Allchin's desire for engineering excellence; the executive says he has worked for months to figure out how to best structure the company to deliver the highest-quality Longhorn release possible. "\[The Windows Core Operating System Division\] creates a very visible center of gravity for advancing the engineering excellence of Windows," he said. "It's basically a new improvement in the processes of how we're building the core parts."
Longhorn, Microsoft's most ambitious software product to date, will likely ship in late 2005 or early 2006. Valentine says the reorganization won't affect Longhorn's ship date. "This \[reorganization\] isn't a statement about Longhorn's schedule," he noted. "It is about the way we build products." Other executives reiterated Valentine's comments about the Longhorn schedule, noting that the reorganization will simply improve Longhorn's quality and security.
Other divisions in the Platforms Group will concentrate on specific Windows markets, such as consumer computing, business computing, and storage management. A separate group of employees, the Windows Engineering Leadership Team, will work under Valentine to ensure consistency and compatibility across all Windows versions. And a new Windows Leadership Team, which will be comprised of company executives, will work to ensure that Windows meets customers' ever-changing needs. "If you look at the work we have done with the \[Tablet PC\] and Windows XP Media Center on the client side or the \[Small Business Server\] product on the server side, those are the examples of the new agility we hope to increasingly enable," Jones said. "We expect this will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our development processes as well as give us an increased emphasis on the quality and architecture of our systems."