Microsoft reshuffles its executive lineup so often that it's become something of an industry joke. (Oh, is it the next quarter already? Time for a new reorg!) But this weekend, the company announced executive reassignments that have even seasoned Microsoft watchers scratching their heads. Senior Vice President David Cole, who used to report to Group Vice President Bob Muglia (a long-time leader of the company's development projects), essentially deposed Muglia. Now Muglia will guide the development of the next version of SQL Server, code-named Yukon, which is an important product but one that lacks the high profile and--seemingly--importance of Cole's new job of delivering Microsoft's core .NET services. Cole will now report directly to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer; the demoted Muglia--now a senior vice president--will report to Group Vice President Jim Allchin.
Microsoft announced the changes in a company-wide email late last week. Cole's new group will be called "MSN and Personal Services" and will focus on delivering .NET My Services, the MSN Web properties that include services such as Hotmail and Microsoft's next-generation speech-recognition and natural-language technologies. Muglia, meanwhile, will guide the development of the next version of SQL Server, whose engine will be used in products ranging from Exchange Server and SQL Server to the Windows file system and Active Directory (AD). Muglia reports that he is "really jazzed" about his demotion. "I am an old SQL server guy, so I have a lot of interest and some experience in this area," Muglia said this weekend. "This role is well suited to my strengths."
In other changes, the wireless and mobile devices group that previously reported to Muglia will now report directly to Ballmer, and Yusuf Mehdi, who previously oversaw the MSN Web properties, will now report to Cole.