Live Search is no longer part of the larger Windows Live services family, in terms of engineering and development.
One by-product of the March 21 Microsoft announcement of the creation of a new Search and Ad Platform group got relatively little play. As a result of the latest reorg, Live Search development is no longer under Senior Vice President Steven Sinofsky. Instead, Live Search is now joined at the hip with Microsoft adCenter in the form of a separate group.
Prior to Wednesday's announcement, Sinofsky, who heads Windows and Windows Live Engineering, had responsibility for the development of all of the Windows Live services, including Live Search, Windows Live Mail, Windows Live Messenger, Live.com and other members of the Windows Live family.
Now Live Search will fall under Microsoft veteran Satya Nadella.
The latest online services reorg at Microsoft comes at a time when Live Search is struggling to catch up to Google and Yahoo. According to the February Nielsen NetRatings data, Live Search gained a bit of search marketshare (from 8.9 percent in January to 9.6 percent in February) -- a positive change compared to 2006.
New Microsoft search chief Nadella joined Microsoft in 1992 from Sun Microsystems. In September 2006 assumed the role as business leader of the Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM product lines. Nadella, like Sinofsky, will report directly to Microsoft Platforms & Services division head Kevin Johnson.
"I believe (Nadella) spent some time in online services working on the ClearLead CRM platform, and then heading up bCentral, so this isn't exactly a new place for him, although a much higher-profile and more important position," said Matt Rosoff, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft.
"I think it makes perfect sense to consolidate adCenter and Web search, and I'm only surprised it took Microsoft so long to do so," Rosoff added.
During his Microsoft tenure, Nadella also has served as general manager of the Commerce Platforms Group and led the development efforts for Microsoft Commerce Server and Microsoft BizTalk Server. Nadella was also a key member of several advanced technology incubation efforts inside Microsoft, including interactive television (ITV) and digital rights management (DRM), according to his bio on the Microsoft Web site.
In his new role, Nadella will have a handful of direct reports. Among Nadella's lieutenants:
* Rick Thompson, corporate VP in charge of the Windows Live Advertising and Monetization Platform at Microsoft. (Windows vet Thompson spearheads the engineering efforts around adCenter, as well as the billing and subscription monetization teams.)
* Dane Glasgow, general manager for Live Search.
* Danielle Tiedt, general manager of search content acquisition with MSN
* Erik Jorgensen, general manager of Microsoft's search and mapping unit
* Ken Moss, general manager of Microsoft search
* Mike Conte, general manager, MSN Marketplaces
Have any suggestions for Microsoft's new search chief?