Microsoft shifts gears for the Live era

Microsoft shifts gears for the Live era

Summary: Now that the Vista and Office 2007 delay is old news, every corner of the tech industry is speculating about the meaning of the Microsoft reorganization. It's basically people shuffling, realigning existing players with Microsoft's evolving and restated mission, articulated most recently in Kevin Johnson's (co-president of Platforms & Services) note about the reorg.

TOPICS: Windows

Now that the Vista and Office 2007 delay is old news, every corner of the tech industry is speculating about the meaning of the Microsoft reorganization. It's basically people shuffling, realigning existing players with Microsoft's evolving and restated mission, articulated most recently in Kevin Johnson's (co-president of Platforms & Services) note about the reorg. It's Microsoft turning the aircraft carrier around again, with a new formula to address the changing world: Windows Vista + Windows Live. Johnson's note listed the number one objective seamless experiences across client, server and services:

Software + Services: Position for the next wave of innovation relative to our vision for Windows Live. Ray Ozzie and I continue to work closely to advance the Live vision announced last November. End-to-end scenarios that enable seamless experiences across client, server, and services are critical for all customers, and Windows Vista + Windows Live begins to address this vision. Utilizing services as a distribution vehicle for user experiences enables us to embrace the concept of software + service and deliver innovation to market faster. Doing this requires us to think about the Windows Live platform as a key to the value proposition we deliver to developers. These changes provide clear connections with Ray and his team to help shape the Live platform, Live experiences and the marketing that supports Windows Live.

Ed Bott covers the reorg, as does Steve Gillmor, who said,  "Office dead, rolled up in Windows. Windows now 'software-based services.' " It's the logical evolution for Microsoft, and was first publicly sketched out on November 1, 2005. "Live" everything to express a persistent Web connection--Windows Vista becomes Live Vista.


Bill Gates rolling out Microsoft Live principles, November 1, 2005


Ray Ozzie explaining Windows Live, November 1, 2005

The top executive, besides Johnson and the newly appointed SVP for Windows and Windows Live engineering Steven Sinofsky, leading Microsoft into the Software+Services/ Windows Vista + Windows Live era is Ray Ozzie, who holds one of the company's CTO titles. And, of course, Microsoft's chief software architect Bill Gates is deeply in the mix. If you add up all the Microsoft years among the group pictured below, you get 63, which includes one year for Ozzie, the lone outsider. 


These veterans of the client/server PC days and before that era have a huge task ahead. There is a lot to sort out and milestones to hit (unlike Vista)--integrating offline and online, dealing with resource allocation, revving at different twitch cycles (as CEO Steve Ballmer likes to say), tweaking the business model, making progress with ads and search, and making the cultural shift to Live. Just moving the deck chairs around, as some described the reorg, clearly isn't going to be enough to shift the massive apparatus underpinning the company into a new gear.

But Microsoft goes through these kinds of major shifts every decade or so, and so far has managed to do more than survive. Most of the Redmond crew don't remember how IBM suffered at Microsoft's hands in an earlier generation, when Big Blue failed to see the future and Microsoft happened to be in the right place at the right time. 

Many say that this 21st century Web era is different. Microsoft has never faced a Google or an environment in which paradigms are shifting rapidly left and right and Windows is less central to the personal computing equation. If you hear lots of grinding sounds coming from Redmond, you'll know that the oligarchs newly appointed to lead the charge haven't been able to shift the gear...

Topic: Windows

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  • Just like Internet Exporer

    There were so many that thought MS was going to "go down the drain" when Netscape owned the browser market and MS had little to offer. Well, we all know the history there and not only did MS not "go down" they took the market lock, stock and barrel.

    The truth is that for a huge company MS has time and time again shown just how nimble it can be when it comes to reacting to changes in the market. Is it easy? No. Does it usually mean rearranging the chairs? Yup. Does it seem to work for them in long run? All I can say is look at the P&L reports...
    • Maybe not the best example

      One would hope that MS would not employ the same tactics they did for IE in this case, given the close scrutiny of the Justice Department.
      tic swayback
      • Perfect example, your history is faulty.

        There never was anything wrong in how MS used IE, even the courts agreed on that.
        • What About Now

          Would the courts agree now, and would large markets like EU and China agree. MS is not playing in their own US protected back yard any more.
          • You will need to see what the courst say.

            Unfortuantely nothing in the EU has made it to court.
        • History will show that the Courts are, as always, Idiots ...

          History will show that the Courts are, as always, Idiots, particularly if there is Science or Technology involved: They *may* know some Law ... the average high school child understands more science and Tech (Politicians are much worse...)

          Just because some dweeb of a Judge proclaims that the Earth is Flat, pi is about 3 or that Microsoft 'was OK' spending unprecedented millions of $ building a web browser just so they could give it away whilst simultaneously destroying the entire market FOR web Browsers and a few other things like potentially competitive Software companies does NOT make it true.[add email software, messaging and other software ..years of blatent plaigerism from Apple and others...)

          Anyone who thinks M$oft is anything other than a vicious rapacious and utterly ruthless monopolist which has seriously damaged innovation and progress in Computing doesn't know *any* History at all.

          [Murky$oft's Lawyers can reach me thru my ZD address (ZD: please feel free to pass it along) If they'd like to try proving me wrong in Court, that'd be just dandy - I could use a good Laugh.. and the 'light exercise' :)]
          Wayne T
          • Well, "idiots" often think so.

  • Shifting gears

    I just dont get it........... Yesterday it was ohhhhh so very bad for MS. We Tend to forget that s*** flows downhill and MS is a "Buy it on Wall Street" company. Look at the automotive industry:
    Harley-Davidson Shifted leadership and is going great guns....
    Ford through ou most of its top level management and now the stock holders love it
    GM is now doing it
    MS has stockholders who want results... If reorganization brings about resolutions to problem(s) so be it... Most can wait-and-see if this will speed up Visa and all 5 of the editions, or, did BG just get tired of excuses
    • Market sense

      But if they are still making horse buggy's when everyone else is making cars?
  • Office rolled up into Windows?

    Oh, sure. Consumers are going to love that...and so is the JD.
    • No one cares what he JD likes.

      If they get too pushy a little lobbying and their budget gets cut in half. ;-)
  • Does anyone have the number?

    Just can anyone give me the number so I can get paid money like all you guys who spread this bull-o-nee junk? I mean come on... Axing people is axing them, and placing people in different positions is an easier way of saying..well we don't want to fire them cause then we will have to pay benefits, even tho they didn't work in that area... maybe they can work in this area an make a difference. Geeez... I would love to get paid for spreading rumors and silly junk like this... Well actually.. no... I would rather be able to get to sleep at night -- nevermind

    You will be hearing alot about this. The desktop is still far better at computing than the browser. Now it is time to get back to the world of interconnected objects across networks. The browser is still the best generic UI going... but there is far more to computing than the UI... and Microsofts BEYOND THE BROWSER is finally going to show people what the distributed object world can do on the Internet.