Ballmer does Windows; Johnson joins Juniper

Ballmer does Windows; Johnson joins Juniper

Summary: Update: Microsoft had its annual management shakeup--these things tend to happen at the end of the fiscal year--and Kevin Johnson is leaving as head of the company's platform and services division. As a result, Johnson's unit is split into two--Windows and online services--and CEO Steve Ballmer becomes the primary advocate for Windows.


Update: Microsoft had its annual management shakeup--these things tend to happen at the end of the fiscal year--and Kevin Johnson is leaving as head of the company's platform and services division. As a result, Johnson's unit is split into two--Windows and online services--and CEO Steve Ballmer becomes the primary advocate for Windows.

The upshot: Ballmer will be the face of Windows and be accountable for its success or failure. Without Johnson, the guy who spearheaded the Yahoo takeover attempt,  the Windows middleman is removed.

And oh by the way if you want to run Microsoft's online business drop the software giant a note. Microsoft's reorg (Techmeme) is an interesting turn of events and there are some key threads to note:

  • According to the Wall Street Journal Johnson is going to lead Juniper Networks. As Om Malik notes Juniper is going to be interesting to watch. Update: This news is official. Juniper announced that Johnson is the new CEO. Scott Kriens will remain chairman (statement).
  • Mary Jo Foley says it's odd that Microsoft will have no Windows intermediary. Three vice presidents--Steven Sinofsky, Jon DeVaan and Bill Veghte--will run Windows/Windows Live and report to Ballmer. Ballmer will be the one with ultimate accountability for Windows and will make sure his three-headed management team works.
  • Ballmer in a memo outlined the company's challenges--Microsoft needs to be more Apple-ish and accept no Windows compromises, become a search leader and maintain its enterprise leadership. Ballmer's Windows quote says it all:

The success of Windows is our number one job. With SP1 and the work we've done with PC manufacturers and our software ecosystem, we've addressed device and application compatibility issues in Windows Vista. Now it's time to tell our story. In the weeks ahead, we'll launch a campaign to address any lingering doubts our customers may have about Windows Vista. And later this year, you'll see a more comprehensive effort to redefine the meaning and value of Windows for our customers.

It will be Ballmer's job to tell that Windows story. And ultimately Ballmer will be the guy who gets the glory and blame for future versions of Windows.

Topics: Operating Systems, Microsoft, Software, Windows

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  • Bad idea

    Ballmer is the CEO, he needs to address CEO issues, not be a front man for a sales pitch or narrow his focus to a single product.
    • Also.....

      Is he really the "face" you want for Vista? Let's be honest
      here Balmer is not loaded with charisma or well anything that
      makes one want to buy from him. Stay away from him
      maybe but buy? heh heh heh

      Just saying.....

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
  • Ballmer IS Windows

    Well, given his background in marketing and sales, it almost seems as though this is what he should do. Many other CEOs become the 'face of the franchise', so this isn't much different.
    • That says it all....."Balmer IS Windows" :P

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
  • RE: Ballmer does Windows; Johnson joins Juniper

    Excellent move. What could be better than one whole Microsoft? Two Microsofts! This split will enable them to focus more on each individual component that makes up the Microsoft stratosphere. With the increased focus we will see an improved Windows platform and a greater Microsoft online presence. Both are going to bring enhancements that will have the competition running scared. Things are looking good for Microsoft. Good things are coming.
    Loverock Davidson
    • Heh...

      Good one...
  • RE: Ballmer does Windows; CASE CLOSED

    BusinessWeek: What can we learn from Apple's struggle to
    innovate during the decade before you returned in 1997?
    Steve Jobs: Apple had a monopoly on the graphical user
    interface for almost 10 years. That's a long time. And how
    are monopolies lost? Think about it. Some very good
    product people invent some very good products, and the
    company achieves a monopoly. But after that, the product
    people aren't the ones that drive the company forward
    anymore. It's the marketing guys or the ones who expand
    the business into Latin America or whatever. Because
    what's the point of focusing on making the product even
    better when the only company you can take business from
    is yourself? So a different group of people start to move
    up. And who usually ends up running the show? The sales
    guy... Then one day, the monopoly expires for whatever
    reason. But by then the best product people have left, or
    they're no longer listened to. And so the company goes
    through this tumultuous time, and it either survives or it

    BusinessWeek: Is this common in the industry?
    Steve Jobs: Look at Microsoft -- who's running Microsoft?

    BusinessWeek: Steve Ballmer.
    Steve Jobs: Right, the sales guy. Case closed.
  • Great day for technology...

    My rep gleefully told me SteveB was now in charge of Windows. With that we celebrated into the night. No longer will wishy-washy execs like Kevin Johnson drag down the Windows eco-system. SteveB is a true visionary. I have met this man; I have looked into his soul and let me tell you, the man just oozes the stability, integrity and clarity that is Vista. At the request of my rep, I have moved on to Executive Order 337 of operation "Rotten to the Core". I have sent out a memo that all company employees are forbidden to walk within 100 feet of the Apple Store in the mall.
    Mike Cox
  • Throwing garbage at garbage.

    This will prove Ballmer's real lack of ability to get things done. I guess he feels like he can be Vista's savior. I'm afraid throwing chairs just won't convince Enterprises to adopt Vista. Will he be fired like the rest when Vista'a adoption still doesn't take off?
  • He? They? <nt>

    Jeff Dickey
  • Great! Keep it Up!

    Let Ed Bott crown Ballmer as king with a golden crown.

    Let everyone proclaim him in wonderment.

    Let all swear loyalty to him and his vision and agree to
    code diligently 18 hours/day for the greater glory and
    beauty of Vista!

    Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!

    (That felt soooo good.)
    Jeremy W
  • Good grief, is this the kindergarden group?

    Sheesh, its becoming useless to have any sort of real discussion on these forums with all the kiddies making stupoid posts they believe are actually "cute" or of value.
    • Open letter to No_Ax

      Sir, I do agree. I too share the disappointment of common laypeople commenting on Microsoft. As a high powered CIO with endless budget and infinite authority, I wish people would fall in line and use Vista and Office 2007 as required. If you are ever in the need of an entry level sysadmin role, please do not hesitate to contact me. I will even give you a SharePoint site to handle your own help desk tickets.
      Mike Cox
      • Re: Open letter to No_Ax

        Lol, and what's the response? Good to see you Mike; it's been a while!
      • 10/10 - Well done No-Axe to Coax a Response from Mike!! (nt)

  • Message has been deleted.

  • RE: Ballmer does Windows; Johnson joins Juniper

    Microsoft skipped off the outer atmosphere on re-entry with the Vista op sys. Now with Steve Ballmer( Mr. Vista salesman) overseeing the sys . well I can only expect that Microsoft will be further skewed into outer space --- maybe never to be heard from again!

    Good is good. You can't make bad into good! Even with a great salesman! When it's good all you have to do is listen!
  • RE: Ballmer does Windows; Johnson joins Juniper

    This troubles me. The recent video of Gates and Ballmer being interviewed at a conference illustrates my fears. Gates stopped short of saying Vista wasn't what he hoped, but did clearly pass the message along that he believes he/they "... need to do better". Then Ballmer grabbed the whiteboard out, started to say that Vista is great, touted it's application compatibility, security, etc and gave us all the usual sales pitch.

    I fear that with Ballmer as the overmind of the Windows (Live) platform, he will approach all failures (no matter how big or small) as "glass half full" and attempt to spin it to the consumers/businesses. Bill at least is more realistic and called a lemon a citrus fruit.... which is close enough for me, and a much better leadership attitude.
  • RE: Ballmer does Windows; Johnson joins Juniper

    This is Vista Today!

    I had posted this message earlier on an Ed Bott blog "How should Microsoft fight Vista criticism? ?We?re sorry? is a good start" - I got no replies. The gist of the posts were that Vista started out poorly but is now fully functional.

    Maybe Mr. Steve "Windows" Ballmer can address these things for me.

    This is Vista Home Premium with SP1:

    1. There are 2 updates for Outlook 2003 that are downloaded every day to my computer. The update is executed but fails with a code 51F. The KB says something about updating from a Network which I didn't. The KB has some convoluted instructions on how to fix this - it may work. I expect the MS Updates to work, as sent, with no special intervention. I don't use Outlook & I'm thinking this has something to do with it.
    2. The UAC message would come up everytime I tried to run something - even legitimate commercial software. I know what I want to run and why without a question from MS. Yet Vista does not prevent programs from installing startup programs, etc without my knowledge. This is the protection that I need.
    3. Most CD burning software still does not list support on Vista. Why is this?
    4. MS dictates how the folders are displayed. I would still like to see my MP3 & JPG files display file name, date & size the way XP does.
    5. I can't really mention anything worthwhile/practical that Vista has provided over XP. Unless you consider the ability to partially see the background through the Title bar.