Microsoft tweaks the Live side of the house

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.

TOPICS: CXO, Microsoft, Windows

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


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • If the dog don't hunt, fire the managers ???

    Maybe they need to look at the dog . . .
    Basic Logic
  • Live sounds almst like "i" as in Mac

    Would the move away from mobile that you mention indicate a weakness, fear or
    some other basis for their hesitation to compete with the iphone? If not, then isn't
    this their usual and customary shuffle of execs that takes place to make it look like
    something of significance is happening? Or do they do the shuffle to cover up
    product/project failures that would only be highlighed by firing the responsible
    group exec? It seems to me that these under-performers are moved around until
    they're close enough to the exit door to quietly fall out of their then-current roles
    and into "retirement". Firing underperformers is always bad press.
    Ania Levy
  • Microsoft?

    Microsoft? Isn't that some Canadian company? They have web services? I thought they were just a clearing house for whiny CEOs and fraudulent H-1B visas?
  • Maybe they should pay more attention?

    To the "Dead" side of the house?

    Microsoft : The Fall From Grace,289142,sid39_gci1245710,00.html

    In a time where their biggest product
    launch in many years has just happened
    Microsoft is suppose to be quite on top
    of things. However, things are not well
    at Microsoft even though their major
    cash cows: Windows and Office has just
    been launched in new versions. The
    newest version of Windows - Vista - is
    looking like a failure of graet
    proportions on more than one front for
    Microsoft. The hype surrounding the
    launch of Vista is now being questioned
    every day, like the great hype
    surrounding Microsoft’s real support
    intentions on “Games for Windows”. The
    problems surrounding the “Windows Vista
    Capable” stickers also ended up being an
    embarrassing affair for Microsoft, when
    customers discover that they had been
    caught between hype and a lie. With
    Vista Microsoft’s marketing department
    outdone both themselves and the truth
    resulting in great marketing deception
    the real discussion quickly ended up in
    one question: Was the sales of Vista
    really good or bad?

    When such a question is asked the
    marketing department quickly readies
    their hype machine and sets a spin on
    every sales number they can find. Nobody
    wants the investors to see the true
    signs of a weakened Microsoft with
    reduced earnings in sight. Unfortunately
    for Microsoft they are the only one
    knowing about the true sales numbers of
    Vista. The hardware vendors have already
    been complaining about the poor sales of
    Vista, while Microsoft continues to deny
    everything. Hauppage points to poor
    sales of Vista, as well. The sales of
    Vista in China cannot even be
    categorized as poor, but catastrophic -
    especially since this is a market
    Microsoft is betting heavily on! The
    demand for Vista is waining and has made
    Dell allow customers to keep ordering
    Windows XP for their new computers, but
    Microsoft isn’t about to let this
    continue - They need to show good Vista
    sales numbers and they are having real
    problems doing so!
    Ole Man