Skip navigation

Massive Microsoft Reorganization Attempts to Speed a Slowing Company - 21 Sep 2005

Subscribe to Windows IT Pro:


To ensure that future email messages you receive from WinInfo Daily UPDATE aren't mistakenly blocked by antispam software, be sure to add [email protected] to your list of allowed senders and contacts.


This email newsletter comes to you free and is supported by the following advertiser, which offers products and services in which you might be interested. Please take a moment to visit this advertiser's Web site and show your support for WinInfo Daily UPDATE.

Data Consolidation Report Featuring Research from Gartner

==== Sponsor: Argent Software ====

Data Consolidation Report Featuring Research from Gartner
Regulatory compliance has driven data consolidation to the forefront of every IT organization's strategic direction. A proactive data consolidation and event management solution will optimize your IT infrastructure, help you meet business needs and control rising storage costs. To learn what Gartner has to say regarding the importance of selecting the right solution for log analysis and data consolidation, read the report now.

Click here to Read the Report:


In the News
- Massive Microsoft Reorganization Attempts to Speed a Slowing Company

==== In the News ====
by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

Massive Microsoft Reorganization Attempts to Speed a Slowing Company
Microsoft has announced a sweeping corporate reorganization that stems directly from its failure to deliver Windows Vista (formerly code-named Longhorn) in a timely manner. As part of the reorganization, Group Vice President Jim Allchin, who oversees all Windows development, will retire after Vista ships in late 2006. And former IBM Lotus Notes executive Ray Ozzie, who came to Microsoft when the software giant purchased Ozzie's latest company, Groove Networks, will move up to CTO.

What's most interesting about the reorganization is that the company's top leaders, CEO Steve Ballmer and Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates, will cede much of their day-to-day control of the company to underlings for the first time. Now, executives in charge of business groups will have direct responsibility for products, letting the company move products to market more quickly. In the face of fast-moving competitors such as Google and Steve Jobs' rejuvenated Apple Computer, Microsoft has hardly seemed like the nimble company of old.

"These changes are designed to align our Business Groups in a way that will enhance decision-making and speed of execution, as well as help us continue to deliver the types of products and services our customers want most," Ballmer said. "We see a new era of opportunity to provide greater value to our customers by weaving both software and services into forms that suit their needs."

Much is changing under the new organizational chart at Microsoft. In the year before Allchin retires, both Allchin and Kevin Johnson will be copresidents of the Microsoft Platform Products & Services Division; Johnson will inherit the division after Allchin leaves. Xbox head honcho Robbie Bach is now the president of Microsoft's Entertainment & Devices Division, which oversees the Xbox as well as the company's other hardware products.

The biggest change, of course, is Allchin's retirement. A dedicated Microsoft cheerleader and a proponent of protecting the company's Windows investment, Allchin is a divisive figure at Microsoft. He is arguably personally responsible for the dominance of Windows and jealously guards the OS as Microsoft's crown jewels. But after Allchin won an internal struggle regarding product bundling in Windows 95, the company was found to have violated federal antitrust laws. Much of that blame rests squarely on Allchin's shoulders, critics say, and Allchin's poor performance at the company's US antitrust trial further damaged Microsoft's credibility. Under Allchin, successive versions of Windows, including Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003, and Longhorn (both Vista and Longhorn Server) have taken far longer to come to market than originally planned, and many far-reaching technologies such as those proposed in project Cairo in the mid-1990s have yet to materialize.

For its part, Microsoft is standing up for Allchin, as it should. "I speak for the entire Microsoft family when I say how proud and appreciative we are of Jim's immeasurable impact on our success as a company," Ballmer said. "Jim is a key visionary and design architect who will help continue to lead us in the coming year."

In my opinion, Allchin deserves praise for his obvious dedication to Windows and for turning the OS into something of which a technologist can be proud. He's clearly a good guy, and it's obvious in retrospect that his befuddled appearance during the Microsoft antitrust trial was as scripted by the company's lawyers as were Gates's and Ballmer's lackadaisical antitrust deposition appearances. One might wonder whether his successor has the technical chops to really replace Allchin. My guess is that few people at the company could fill that role effectively.

As for the wider reorganization, Microsoft has a lot of baggage, history, and problems to overcome. In the 20 years since Gates announced that he had no intention of turning his company into the next IBM, Microsoft has become, well, the next IBM, with multiple layers of executives who seem to be more interested in protecting their pet projects than in promoting good technology. I've opined in the past that the only good products that have come out of Microsoft in the past few years have come from small groups working outside the system. Until the software giant truly recognizes this problem and moves to fix it, I suspect that things won't really change.

==== Events and Resources ====
(A complete Web and live events directory brought to you by Windows IT Pro: )

Get Ready for the SQL Server 2005 Roadshow in Europe--Back by Popular Demand
Get the facts about migrating to SQL Server 2005! SQL Server experts will present real-world information about administration, development, and business intelligence to help you implement a best-practices migration to SQL Server 2005 and improve your database-computing environment. Receive a one-year membership to PASS and a one-year subscription to SQL Server Magazine. Register now.

==== Featured White Paper ====

Software Packaging Workflow Best Practices
Managing desktop software configurations doesn't have to be a manual process, resulting in unplanned costs, deployment delays, and client confusion. In this free white paper, you'll learn how to manage the software package preparation process and increase your desktop reliability, user satisfaction, and IT cost effectiveness. Download your copy now and discover the value of standardizing the software packaging process. ==== Announcements ====

Windows IT Pro Has What IT Professionals Need
Get Windows IT Pro and get answers. Subscribe today and get an entire year for just $39.95--that's 44 percent off the cover price! You'll also gain exclusive access to the entire Windows IT Pro article database (more than 9000 articles) and get the Top Windows Tips handbook (more than 50 helpful tips) FREE. This is a limited-time, risk-free offer, so click here now:

==== Sponsored Links ====

Argent Versus MOM 2005
Download Argent Versus Microsoft Operations Manager 2005

Is Your Office Truly Fax Integrated?
Download this free whitepaper from Faxback and find out!

==== Contact Us ====

About the newsletter -- [email protected] About technical questions -- About product news -- [email protected] About your subscription -- [email protected] About sponsoring UPDATE -- [email protected]


This email newsletter is brought to you by Windows IT Pro, the leading publication for IT professionals deploying Windows and related technologies. Subscribe today!

Manage Your Account
You are subscribed as %%$email%%

You are receiving this email message because you subscribed to this newsletter on our Web site. To unsubscribe, click the unsubscribe link: %%UNSUB_HREF%%

View the Windows IT Pro privacy policy at

Windows IT Pro is a division of Penton Media Inc. 221 East 29th Street, Loveland, CO 80538 Attention: Customer Service Department

Copyright 2005, Penton Media Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.