More engineers at the top: Just what the doctor ordered for Microsoft?

Summary:Bloomberg Businessweek has an interesting report citing those infamous "people in the know," claiming that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is readying a management shakeup which will "place more senior product executives who have a strong engineering background."

Bloomberg Businessweek has an interesting report citing those infamous "people in the know," claiming that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is readying a management shakeup which will "place more senior product executives who have a strong engineering background."

The thinking: Microsoft needs more technology-minded top dogs to help the company compete (or at least to provide the outward impression that engineering prowess still matters in Redmond).

If this comes to pass, it won't be business as usual at Microsoft. As I've blogged numerous times, since Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates retired from his day-to-day duties at the company, many engineering-focused Microsoft managers (whom I and others call "Bill guys") have left the company, as the more management/sales-focused cadre of "Steve's guys" have risen to prominence.

Ballmer's appointments of Qi Lu and Kurt DelBene -- two more engineering-centric managers -- to "Presidents" hasn't gotten the recognition by company watchers that Ballmer wasn't simply favoring the suits. In fact, Bob Muglia, the Server and Tools President who announced in January he was leaving the company this year, led a number of Redmond tea-leaf readers wondering if yet another of the engineering-centric crowd was abandoning ship. I've heard from some Wall Streeters that Microsoft execs were hinting that Ballmer was seeking someone more management-focused to take Muglia's spot. But the latest BusinessWeek story leaves me wondering whether that's the case....

There are a number of in-house candidates that might be the kind of engineering-focused leader with a combination of cloud and server chops that Ballmer might opt to elevate if that's the direction he's leaning. I've mentioned Server and Cloud Senior Vice President Amitabh Srivastava as a possible presidential candidate. Others could include Microsoft Online Services Corporate Vice President Ron Markezich; Business Platform Senior Vice President Ted Kummert; Corporate VP of Management and Security Brad Anderson; or Senior Vice President of Technical Strategy (and Midori maven) Eric Rudder.

Until this latest report, I was thinking Ballmer might go outside the company and bring in someone more focused on upping the margins Microsoft makes on databases and systems management wares.

In any cases, given the Softies are finishing off their internal mid-year reviews, the annual Microsoft reorg announcements could happen any time now, like they did last year.

Topics: Networking, Hardware, Microsoft, Servers

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

Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.