A Microsoft reorg caveat: It's not fast (and only maybe fluid)

A Microsoft reorg caveat: It's not fast (and only maybe fluid)

Summary: Don't expect any sudden moves resulting from Microsoft's latest reorg any time soon.

TOPICS: Microsoft

Whether you are in the camp that thinks Microsoft's recent reorg is a momentous event or just a rearranging of the deck chairs, there's one thing to keep in mind: It's not going to happen quickly. When it comes to reorging a nearly 100,000-employee company, fast and fluid are not the watchwords.


Yes, it's true that Microsoft has been laying the groundwork for "One Microsoft" for a while.

I wrote about the company's One Microsoft strategy over a year ago. And moves like using the NT core inside Windows Phone and the Windows 8/Hyper-V "guts" inside the Xbox One show that Microsoft was taking steps to break down artificial boundaries of teams that naturally belonged together. Many groups at Microsoft already adopted the test-dev-PM "functional" structure, and will likely remain organized in that fashion even after the reorg dust settles.

That said, while Microsoft officials decided to announce the new corporate structure last week, on July 11, most changes around the reporting structure aren't likely to take effect until this fall or later.

The Office team, which will become part of the new Applications and Services group, already reorg'd months ago.

The Windows, Windows Phone and Xbox OS teams will be munged together, but not right away. The last thing Microsoft needs right now is a disruption in its product-delivery schedules, especially given the company's goal of delivering new releases more quickly. I seriously doubt anyone from Windows or Xbox is going to be moved around until after this fall, when those products hit RTM/launch.

And for those praying that the new reorg will mean Windows Phone Blue will be out earlier, I'd say don't get your hopes up. Microsoft's Windows Phone team is continuing its slow march along the General Distribution Release (GDR 1, 2, 3) path. GDR2 is only starting to roll out now; GDR3 has been slated to arrive this fall for a while. Windows Phone Blue isn't coming until after that, most likely in the early part of 2014 -- reorg or no reorg.

When Microsoft reports its Q4 FY 2013 earnings this Thursday, July 18, it will be business as usual: The same five groups will still be reporting their profits and losses. (Right now, we don't know how Microsoft is going to break out its P&L centers in the post-reorg'd world.)

So yes, there will be changes coming as a result of Microsoft's latest reorg. In some senses, the new, more collaborative planning already had begun before the formal reorg announcement. But any big reorg-related changes are still probably months away from happening....

Topic: Microsoft


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Much ado

    about nothing, then?
  • Amusing article (love Microsoft odd reality)

    It is going to take well over 6 months for Microsoft to become a fast moving agile tech company. It is amazing that Microsoft can prove itself unable to do what it says it wants to before it even gets started.

    If you want to prove to the world and your investor that you can adapt to changes in the world of technology wouldn't you want to do that in under six months? What if some other technology emerges and moves people away from tablets? Is Microsoft going to wait until this change is complete and then spend another 6 months changing again. Seems like a losing battle.
    • I remember back somewhere in the mid 1990's

      seeing Bill Gates on a show (maybe on Tech-TV) saying that one day soon all software would be a service running on the Internet. At the time I thought he was hinting at something Microsoft was working on and about to launch. It is obvious now that Microsoft was not prepared for SaaS and is feeling the pain now.

      From a 2006 InfoWorld articel:

      "In a now legendary 1995 memo, Bill Gates raised the alarm that Microsoft was woefully unprepared for what he termed the “Internet Tidal Wave.” Fast forward 10 years to last October, and Gates blasts out another high-priority e-mail, this time warning of a coming “services wave” of applications available instantly over the Internet. “The next sea change is upon us,” he writes.

      Ringing in Gates’ ears must have been the roar of Google -- and the Web 2.0 hordes, whose XML-based mash-ups of sites are transforming the Web experience. As Gates observed in that same message, however, SaaS (software as a service) isn’t new. Nor is it restricted to the consumers, developers, and very small businesses that Microsoft is targeting with its customizable Windows Live page and Office Live free Web site and collaboration service."

      You can find that here: www.infoworld.com/d/applications/software-service-next-big-thing-319

      In it's latest so called re-org Microsoft is still grasping to realize these goals. Why would Microsoft build their re-org up then send this message to not expect much from it?

      Because that seems to be all they can do anymore, pump up the media hype and try to give the illusion that Microsoft is on the bleeding edge of tech, but not really delivering much.

      The more Microsoft seems to change the more they stay the same....
  • Microsoft reorg caveat = W-8 being a total FAIL

    Do you think Windows 8 failing and Blue just sitting there caused all the dismissals?
    Over and Out
    • From what I heard their were no real dismissals.

      I am a bit worried usually there are more Microsoft supporters on ZDNET. I hope they didn't get dismissed.
      • They are being re-grooved

        I mean re-programmed. Silly me no one re-groves (as in 78 RPM records) records any more....
  • It is just another MS snow job.

    Hiding failing products behind "reorganization".
    • Really? What products do you think they're hiding?

      I dont think it would count as a very big failure if they never tried to sell it.
      Johnny Vegas
  • Change yesterday

    Events, change, evolution have a timetable based on many extemporaneous factors. Planning for change is another matter and to voice expectations of potential future possibilities is only as credible as the source. B Gates and MSFT have a very high credibility rating in my book and what happened yesterday and is taking place today are only harbingers of tomorrow. If we only look at the events or products, not the timeframe or the factors leading up to it, you loose the context and developmental curve.
  • We want more companies equal to MS.

    We really dream of a computer world where are several companies providing ms-like solutions with reasonable prices by tercumeburosu - Radiant Tercüme'ye Dikkat.
    Murat Kabakci