Microsoft re-organisation: From devices to big data, what it means for business

Microsoft re-organisation: From devices to big data, what it means for business

Summary: Steve Ballmer has set out a number of priority areas for Microsoft following a major reorganisation of the tech giant to focus on devices and services.


Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has finally unveiled his long-awaited reorganisation of Microsoft's business units, placing an even greater emphasis on its devices-plus-services strategy and away from product silos.

As my colleague Mary Jo Foley points out: "As expected, there's no separation along consumer/business lines with this new reorg. Microsoft execs are intent on blurring even further the lines between consumer and enterprise with its products and services," and as part of a memo accompanying the reorganisation, Ballmer shed some light on the company's enterprise priorities, which have been rewritten for a new world where the corporate desktop is rapidly being supplanted by (Android and iOS) tablets, smartphones and maybe even wearable devices — all of which are alien territory to Microsoft, and areas it recognises it needs to catch up on fast as PC sales continue on a downward path.

"Our new strategy will put us right at the intersection of the consumerisation of IT and the evolving needs of the enterprise customer," Ballmer said in the memo, and set out seven areas that Microsoft will focus on:

  • Boosting adoption of Microsoft devices and end-user services in enterprise settings. Ballmer said Microsoft would be "embracing consumerisation of IT with the vigor we pursued in the initial adoption of PCs" and said the company's family of devices "must allow people to be more productive, and for them to easily use our devices for work".
  • Information assurance. "This will be an area of critical importance to enterprises," he said, with changes in the security and compliance landscape creating fresh opportunities for the company.
  • IT management. "With more IT delivered as services from the cloud, the function of IT itself will be reimagined," Ballmer said.
  • Big data insight. With businesses' online interactions with their customers accelerating, massive amounts of data is being geneated — and the cloud is now offering the processing power to make sense of it, according to Ballmer: "We are well-positioned to reimagine data platforms for the cloud." But Microsoft is far from being the only player aiming at this market.
  • Customer interaction. CRM also made Microsoft's priority list, with Ballmer noting that organisations today value most activities that help them fully understand their customers' needs, be more responsive, and communicate with them in a more personalised fashion.
  • Software development. Echoing his famous cry of "Developers, Developers, Developers!" Ballmer continued to court coders. "Finally, developers will continue to write the apps and sites that power the world, and integrate to solve individual problems and challenges. We will support them with the simplest turnkey way to build apps, sites and cloud services, easy integration with our products, and innovation for projects of every size," he said.

Topics: Enterprise Software, Microsoft

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  • Desktop applications

    So Steve wants to help us build "apps, sites and cloud services". Absent from that list is desktop applications. Corporations still have a lot of desktop applications that they depend on. Microsoft does not seem interested in giving developers of desktop applications any improved tools to help them improve their desktop applications. I realize it is not a rapid growth area, but while the growth is in mobile and tablets, businesses are not throwing away their desktops. Microsoft is taking this area for granted.
    • "embracing consumerisation of IT"

      It won't work. Two different ballgames, two different needs.

      He's an idiot.
    • new desktop features for development

      Ms is allowing devs to build desktop apps with HTML and CSS. That is great news for me,a web devwloper bad news for regular desktop developwrs
      Matt Casey
  • Business vs Consumer

    While there is some blurring of business and consumer usage I think it is a major mistake to assume they will fully converge. Businesses use computers ultimately to make money more efficeintly while consumers use computers for a variety of hobby usages with some household managment. Some software, if priced correctly, will sell well to both groups such as office suites. But most consumers have little or need for autocad or sophisticated databases while many businesses could not function effectively without either.

    Now the hardware, if properly designed, often can support both businesses and consumers depending on the installed apps/software.
  • Due to Software Assurance

    businesses have already been on the path announced yesterday for a while.
  • Welcome to the new Apple

    ... only much bigger and not quite as good.
  • Trying to channel Steve Jobs

    does not make Ballmer another Steve Jobs. I think it's time for Apple and Android to start filling that vacuum of the "desktop".
    D.J. 43
  • Balmer doesn't get it...

    PCs aren't going anywhere any time soon, especially in the work place. I am not sure about everyone else here, but at work, nothing short of a fast PC with a big monitor, a full keyboard and a mouse will cut it for what I do.
  • agree desktops are not going away

    Sales may have dipped but I think this reflects the fact that money is tight generally and people are spending money on new things like tablets and smart phones - this doesn't mean they are abandoning PCs - just that they are making them last longer (as they always should have done) My current PC is over 5 years old ( a home build ) and I will probably continue with it for another year at least - I retire in a year and will build myself a new one then and that is intended to last my life - I will survive by upgrading after that (and yes I have a tablet and a smart phone)
    • Re: money is tight generally and people are spending money

      Have you spotted the flaw in your own rationalization yet? Money is "tight", and yet people have money to spend; it's just that they're choosing to spend that money on Android devices rather than ones running Windows.

      Still don't think Windows devices are going away?