However, it seems the company is using the lull of completed projects to reshuffle. In a memo to employees, CEO Satya Nadella announced plans to axe the Windows and Devices group and form two new engineering teams.
‘Experiences & Devices’ will carry on the work of the Surface line, while also working on a “unified product ethos” and further integration of Windows, and Office 365. Rajesh Jha will head up this division, with Panos Panay as the chief product officer and Joe Belfiore continuing to drive Windows experiences.
Meanwhile, Kudo Tsunoda will still lead the New Experiences and Technology team, and Brad Anderson Enterprise Mobility and Management, with closer integrations with Office 365 and EMS teams.
Among all this, you may be wondering what’s happening to the head of the former Windows and Devices group, Terry Myerson. It seems the 20-year veteran is finally moving on from the company.
“With change comes transition, and one transition we have been planning for is for Terry Myerson to pursue his next chapter outside Microsoft,” explains Nadella. “Terry has been instrumental in helping me arrive at this new organizational structure, and I deeply appreciate his leadership and insight as we’ve worked through the opportunity that lies ahead.”
Cloud + AI
The second team will focus on Microsoft’s key strengths, Cloud and AI. Former cloud and enterprise head Scott Guthrie will take on a larger role managing this team, which consists of several layers.
Jason Zander will become the new vice president of Azure and will lead that portion, with the Windows platform team coming under his wing. Nadella claims the platform is already “a core part of Azure”, and that shift will let Microsoft accelerate progress on a unified computing platform.
Under this model, Gurdeep Singh Pall’s Marketing and Sales Insights teams will join James Phillips’ Business Applications group under the name Business AI. A Universal Store and Commerce Platform will join Cloud + AI under Eric Lockhard to help with “digital transformation”.
Excitingly, HoloLens visionary Alex Kipman will head a new ‘AI Perception and Mixed Reality’ team. There he will focus not just on AR, but bringing it together with all of the company’s AI and speech recognition breakthroughs. Of course, Harry Shum will remain instrumental in this, heading up a third ‘AI + Research’ team.
They’ll be subject to a new committee, AETHER, to ensure technological advances are handled responsibly. This will be led by Shum and Brad Smith, with senior leaders from across the company.
In short, this is one of the biggest reshuffles we’ve seen in recent years, but that’s not unusual for Microsoft. The company had a big switch around when Nadella took over, and tends to do so every 3-4 years to keep things fresh. Consumers are more concerned about the laser focus on the cloud business, and what that means for Windows. In that regard, only time will tell, but I don’t expect major changes any time soon.