Cloud ascendant: Microsoft launches major reorg as Windows head departs

Cloud ascendant: Microsoft launches major reorg as Windows head departs

Cloud ascendant: Microsoft launches major reorg as Windows head departs

The driver behind the move is the forthcoming departure of Terry Myerson, a 21-year Microsoft veteran who serves as executive vice president of the Windows and Devices Group. He announced the formation of two new engineering teams - one focused on experiences and devices, and a second focused on cloud and artificial intelligence (AI). Nadella said that Rajesh Jha, the company's executive vice president for its Product group, will take charge of the new Experiences and Devices division.

Under the new organization, it appears that the split will continue but in a more logical fashion: the core operating system platform will all be managed under Zander, while user interface, online services, applications, and showcase hardware such as Surface and Surface Hub, will be under Jha.

The reorganization puts front-and-center two of Microsoft's most successful businesses in recent years. He oversaw numerous company's products and services, including Windows, Xbox, and HoloLens.

"With change comes transition, and one transition we have been planning for is for Terry Myerson to pursue his next chapter outside Microsoft", Nadella said in the note. Myerson said that the commercial usage of the latest Windows version has also improved 84% year over year. "With this backdrop, it makes sense for Microsoft to reorganize around cloud - Azure, Office, AI - the segments with huge runways and growth potential", said Anurag Agrawal, CEO and analyst at Techaisle. Windows 10 has done just fine in the nearly three years since it was released, but PC sales are sluggish at best.

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Interestingly, the Windows platform team led by Harv Bhela, Henry Sanders and Michael Fortin joins the Azure team headed by Zander, Nadella says. The Windows devices team combines with Office software, with the goal of building laptops and tablets that appeal to users of Microsoft's applications, including its Word and Excel programs and newer tools like email and Skype.

"Joe Belfiore will continue leading our Windows experiences and will drive Windows innovation in partnership with the PC and device ecosystem", Nadella wrote.

Nadella shared the news in an email to employees. Harry Shum was named as the head of the research unit, which will focus on developing and fine-tuning new AI products. The other division focussing on AI and cloud computing will be handled by executive vice president Scott Guthrie. Ensuring that Microsoft's AI efforts are undertaken in a responsible manner, the company's internal AI and Ethics in Engineering and Research (AETHER) Committee, established by Shum and Brad Smith, Microsoft's president and chief legal officer, will shape policies regarding the potent technology at the company.

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