Microsoft tweaks the Live side of the house

Summary:On July 1, Microsoft's new fiscal year started with a new slate of Live executives -- or at least a bunch of existing execs with new titles and responsibilities. It seems like Microsoft is finally reining in the runaway "Windows Live" brand and relegating it to being a subset of the larger "Microsoft Live" services effort.

On July 1, Microsoft's new fiscal year started with a new slate of Live executives -- or at least a bunch of existing execs with new titles and responsibilities.

Brian Arbogast, who had been running Microsoft's Windows Live Developer & Communications Platform for the past few years, is now the Corporate Vice President for the Mobile Services team within Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices Division. The Mobile Services team, according to Microsoft's Web site, is "responsible for delivering the mobile services strategy, platform, and experiences for Windows Live, as well as the strategy, platform, and integrated services for network operators and other syndication partners."

In his previous role, Arbogast spearheaded the development of the "core technology behind Windows Live mail, calendar (which still isn't released, mind you), contacts, storage, instant messaging, VOIP functionality, Microsoft's online identity services and the delivery of a broad developer ecosystem around the Windows Live platform" -- plus extending all these services to mobile devices and operators.

So who's going to run the development side of the Live house? It looks like the Windows Live Core all-star team is being moved into some of those roles.

As of June 27, David Treadwell -- previously a Corporate Vice President on the so-called "Windows Live Core" team -- got a new title and set of responsibilities. Treadwell is now Corporate Vice President in charge of Live Platform Services, "a group that’s defining and implementing the next generation of platform services that all Microsoft service-enabled applications and sites will use. These services include unified identity and directory, data synchronization, transport and presence, among others."

(It seems like Live Platform Services is the successor to what was called the Windows Live Platform Group, previously run by Blake Irving, who is on tap to retire from Microsoft this summer.)

The Live Platform Group, under Irving was charged with building and managing "datacenter and technical operations, advertising platform, storage and payments infrastructure, backend communications and collaboration platform, business and customer intelligence, security and safety, identity, VoIP, mobile, global development and supportability capabilities, supporting application services built across the company, including Windows Live, Office Live, Xbox Live and other Microsoft applications."

Amitabh Srivasta, a former Core Operating System Division (COSD) leader and Microsoft Technical Fellow, is also now a Corporate Vice President in charge of "Cloud Infrastructure Services."

There's no official explanation for what "Cloud Infrastructure Services" encompass on Microsoft's Web site, but the Windows Live Core team has been working on a number of database-related technologies designed to allow data and services to sync across a variety of platforms. Among projects believed to fall under the Live Core team's domain: Harmonica P2P mesh, CloudDB, Blue/Cloud, Velocity and a bunch of other near/longer term datacenter-technology components.

"We have been waiting for (Chief Software Architect) Ray Ozzie's Live Core to emerge, and this sounds like it's about to happen," said Kip Kniskern, a staff writer with LiveSide.Net. "While Microsoft is going to continue to place heavy emphasis on mobile, my guess is that moving Arbogast out of Live Platform and the Ozzie team into (Live Platform) is more about Core than it is about mobile."

To me, it looks like Microsoft is finally starting to rein in the runaway "Windows Live" brand, relegating it to a subset of the larger "Microsoft Live" services platform/strategy. Notice the growing number of Live properties springing up without the word "Windows": Live Maps, Live Search, Live Platform, ....

Any other observations about Microsoft's latest Live shufflings?

Topics: CXO, Microsoft, Windows

About

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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