Just a few months ago, Microsoft Corporate Vice President Gurdeep Singh Pall was 100 percent focused on “working on Skype strategy." Now that the Microsoft acquisition of Skype has closed, Pal has taken on a new job -- and one that isn't tightly tied to his unified communications roots.
According to his recently updated (October 25) bio page on Microsoft's Web site, Pall is now Corporate Vice President of Microsoft's Information Platform & Experience team. He also is "part of the Online Services Division's senior leadership team" and is "responsible for vision, product strategy and R&D for the Bing services and platform that includes mobile, mapping, and speech."
(Update: Until recently, Erik Jorgensen was the Corporate VP of Bing Mobile. As of late October, Jorgensen became Corporate Vice President of Special Initiatives. )
Before strategizing on Skype, Pall was the President of the Office Lync & Speech Group, "overseeing the vision, product strategy and R&D for the Microsoft Lync family of products and Microsoft Tellme services."
Pall's Tellme background will definitely influence Microsoft's Tellme-based mobile speech platform directions. (Already, there are speech elements woven into the Bing Audio capabilities that are integrated in Microsoft's Windows Phone platform.)
Additionally, I'd think Pall will have a lot to do with Microsoft's Bing-speech integration synergies, which Microsoft execs -- including CEO Steve Ballmer -- have been touting throughout the year.
What, exactly, is this "Information Platform" team which Pall is leading? A Microsoft spokesperson said the team is a group focused son "mobile, platforms and speech."
Interestingly, "information platform" also seems to be another way Microsoft refers to its database and business intelligence (BI) platform. Earlier this year, the Softies described the company's "Cloud-Ready Information Platform" as helping customers "tackle the data explosion and evolve into the future through integrated private and public cloud offerings, optimized appliances, complete and scalable data warehouse offerings, scalable end-to-end business intelligence, and of course continued investments in the SQL Server database software."
Ever since Satya Nadella took over Microsoft's Server and Tools Business unit, he's really been beating the database/BI drum and attempting to make sure Microsoft is seen as a key player in the "big data" space. One way of attempting to better leverage and justify Microsoft's Bing assets is to tie them more tightly to other profitable parts of Microsoft's business -- like SQL Server (one of the company's billion-dollar businesses) and its Kinect sensor for Xbox.
(Thanks to Rob Helm of Directions on Microsoft for his tweet about Pall's new job.)