Microsoft splits its Platforms & Services unit in two

Summary:Microsoft announced on July 23 that it is cleaving its Platforms & Services Division in half and the head of the formerly combined unit is leaving the company.

Microsoft announced on July 23 that it is cleaving its Platforms & Services Division in half and the head of the formerly combined unit is leaving the company.

Microsoft is carving up the so-called PSD unit along the natural fault lines. The Windows and Windows Live team will be one unit, run by three senior vice presidents (Steven Sinofsky, Jon DeVaan and Bill Veghte. And the Online Services Business (OSB) will be headed by a new, and as-yet-unnamed senior leader. Microsoft is conducting a search inside and outside the company for that person.

Both of the new, separate divisions (Windows/Windows Live and OSB) are reporting directly to CEO Steve Ballmer.

Kevin Johnson -- one of Microsoft's three presidents and the current head of PSD --  is leaving the company as part of the restructuring. No date or reason for his departure was provided at the time I posted this blog entry.

Update No. 1: Johnson is going to run Juniper Networks, according to the Wall Street Journal. Still no word if his departure from Microsoft is voluntary or not. (I'm betting the latter.)

In its press release announcing the shake-up, Microsoft highlighted that the two businesses -- Windows/Windows Live and Online -- are doing well.

The reality is a bit different. Microsoft has been struggling to convince the market that Windows Vista, of which it has sold 180 million copies since launch, isn't a flop. And the Online Services Business continues to be a sink hole for resources, as Microsoft's latest financial results indicated.

Today's announcement has left me wondering about a couple of things:

* Why has Microsoft decided not to appoint a single head of Windows as part of this latest reorg? It sounds like a triumvirate (head of Windows/Live engineering Sinofsky; head of Microsoft's Core Operating System division DeVaan; and head of Windows/Live marketing Veghte) will run "Platforms." Why is there no single Windows/Windows Live champion -- other than Ballmer himself -- and no plans to look for one?

*  What kind of person is Microsoft seeking to run OSB? Has the company already decided against promoting Brian McAndrews, the former head of aQuantive, into this role? (I hear Microsoft is expecting McAndrews to be a "strong candidate.")

* How much, if at all, did the Microsoft-Yahoo debacle play into this shake-up?

In the meantime, what's your take? What's behind the latest reorg -- and will it matter?

Topics: Enterprise Software, Microsoft, Windows


Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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