Biz Division head Raikes takes over Microsoft's unified communications effort

Microsoft watchers know Anoop Gupta has been a fixture in Microsoft's Business Division, and specifically, on the Unified Communications Group (UCG) side of the house, for some time now. But Gupta's gone. Not gone from Microsoft all together, but gone from the Business Division and now working for Microsoft Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie. What gives?

Microsoft watchers know Anoop Gupta has been a fixture in Microsoft's Business Division, and specifically, on the Unified Communications Group (UCG) side of the house, for some time now.

But Gupta's gone. Not gone from Microsoft all together, but gone from the Business Division and now working for Microsoft Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie. (Gupta's bio on Microsoft's site does not yet reflect the change.)

What gives? Here are a few of my questions and Microsoft's answers, delivered via email from a Microsoft spokeswoman.

Q: When did Gupta leave his job as Corporate Vice President in charge of Microsoft's Unified Communications Group (UCG)?

A: His new role took effect on 2/5

Q: What is Gupta's new job?

A: Corporate VP of technology policy and strategy

Q: Who is taking Gupta's place in Microsoft's Business Division?

A: (Business Division President) Jeff (Raikes) has decided to step in and be the business lead on UCG

Q: What is the reason for this changing of the guard?

A: Gupta was presented with the opportunity to take on this role and felt that he helped get the business to the point it is today -- successful in about 4 years time and he's built a solid leadership bench and felt like the business was at a good place for him to be able to take a new role.

UCG provides "business communications solutions (e-mail, IM, VoIP, unified messaging, audio/video/Web conferencing) and platform components," and is responsible for Exchange Server, Microsoft Speech Server, Microsoft Office Live Meeting, FrontBridge Services, and Microsoft Office Communications products and business, according to the Softies' org chart. Microsoft moved these proudcts and services into the Business Division in January 2006.

Before spearheading the UCG effort at Microsoft, Gupta was Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates' technical assistant, so his move into more of a research/policy role isn't coming out of left field. But is there more to this latest shuffle -- beyond the fact that more and more of the Office team seems to be moving into other Microsoft divisions?

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