The guessing games are over.
On March 21, Microsoft announced that the company appointed a new search chief. And to the surprise of many Microsoft watchers, the company picked its former Dynamics ERP leader, Satya Nadella, to head up the newly created Search and Ad Platform group at the company.
Microsoft has been mulling who would be best to head the company's struggling search effort for the past month or more.
Nadella was named in September 2006 the head of the Microsoft Business Solutions (MBS) team, succeeding Doug Burgum, who is retiring from Microsoft this year. Tammi Reller, the current Corporate Vice President of MBS marketing, will step in to fill Nadella's post, according to Microsoft.
It was not clear on Wednesday whether Reller will remain the head of MBS or if Microsoft commence a search for a new Corporate VP to head its MBS unit.
In his new role, Nadella will be part of the Microsoft Platform & Services Division (PSD), reporting directly to PSD President Kevin Johnson. He will assume his new role heading the newly created search and ad platform team on April 19, 2007.
According to a company statement, "Aligning Search and our Ad Platform efforts under a single R&D leader is essential as we drive advances in our search, commerce, and payments infrastructure, and evaluate change-the-playing-field opportunities."
Microsoft also announced on March 21 that Harry Shum, head of Microsoft Research Asia, will become Chief Scientist of the newly minted Search and Ad Platform Group.
"Harry will be responsible for coordinating short and long-term technology investments in this key area across the company, and will add the Chief Scientist role to his existing responsibilities as the leader of Microsoft Research Asia," according to a company statement.
Rumors have been flying fast and furious as to whom Microsoft would get to replace Chris Payne, the former head of search, who announced earlier this month that he had decided to leave Microsoft. At the same time as Payne announced his departure, Blake Irving, the Windows Live Platform Corporate VP, also announced his resignation.