Microsoft staffs up its evolving Internet of Things team

Microsoft staffs up its evolving Internet of Things team

Summary: Microsoft's Windows Embedded team seemingly has a new name, and may be expanding to have a broader charter.

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Microsoft is staffing up its Internet of Things (IoT) team that is part of its unified Windows division and may be expanding its charter, as well.

The IoT team, at least originally, was the renamed Microsoft Embedded team, according to a couple of sources of mine. Microsoft management moved the Embedded team from under the Windows Server group to the unified Windows org under Microsoft Executive Vice President Terry Myerson last fall.

Up until now, Microsoft's Windows Embedded team has focused primarily on enterprise/industrial customers, not consumers. Its charter has been to convince retail, healthcare, manufacturing and automotive shops to embed various flavors of Windows in their devices.

But the IoT team may soon be spreading its wings -- at least according to a couple of LinkedIn profiles of recent additions to the group.

Steve Teixeira became the Partner-level Director of Program Management for the IoT team as of December 2013, according to his profile.

steveteixeira

Teixeira formerly was Director of Program Management for the Visual Studio Platform team. He also was one of the leaders in the Developer Division's Technical Computing Group and Parallel Computing platform. (Before joining Microsoft, he worked at Borland on Delphi and C++ Builder.)

jonathansmith

Another Microsoft veteran, Jonathan Smith, also joined the IoT team recently (January 2014), according to his LinkedIn profile. Like Teixeira, Smith was a former member of the Microsoft Developer Division's technical computing effort. (Technical Computing was where many of the employees whom Microsoft acquired back in 2009 when it bought Interactive Supercomputing ended up.)

Most recently, Smith was Group Program Manager for Windows Azure Engineering. He also previously served in various Program Manager roles for "every release of WIndows from Windows 2000 through Windows 7," according to his LinkedIn profile.

In his LinkedIn profile, Teixeira described the role of the IoT team as building "the operating systems and cloud services that power non-PC/tablet/phone/console 'things' such as industry devices, wearables, automobiles, consumer electronics, etc. We enable intelligent systems to be built from these things across a broad range of industry verticals."

The mention of services is interesting here (given the IoT team is part of the operating systems team, not Azure or Executive Vice President Qi Lu's applications and services group). I'm also interested in Teixeira's mention of wearables, given the Windows Embedded team, as I mentioned above, hasn't addressed the consumer space to date.

I noted last fall that Alex Kipman is now believed to be heading up the software side of Microsoft's wearables effort. Kipman works for Myerson on the operating systems team. Kipman is credited as one of the main visionaries behind Microsoft's Kinect sensor and has been heading up Xbox incubation for the past few years. (He previously worked on MSBuild and Vista Ultimate.)

I asked Microsoft officials whether IoT is simply the new name for the Embedded team or if it's a more broadly focused group that encompasses Embedded. I was told the team had nothing to say on either question at this time.

I'll be interested to see how and if the IoT team ends up working with Microsoft Research. As I blogged previously, the Microsoft researchers have been doing a lot of work around the HomeOS concept

Last fall, researchers noted they have built a prototype storage system for data generated by connected devices and applications in the home. That storage system, codenamed "Bolt," currently supports local, Azure and Amazon S3 storage, and integrates directly with HomeOS, according to a research paper published last November.

Topics: Emerging Tech, Cloud, Microsoft, Windows, Tapping M2M: The Internet of Things

About

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).

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15 comments
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  • I still believe in the private cloud

    I have to say, that I still believe in the private cloud first approach to consumer based services. It decreases exposure of consumers' private data to abuse, which will likely only get worse in the future. I myself will not have my social graph, and mounds of data about myself in the public cloud, in order to use some kind of personal assistant app, or be able to power wearable devices, as well as appliances in my home. I think it would be better if MS provided microserver appliances for the home, requiring virtually no attention from users, as part of Xbox Live subscriptions, where users personal data can lie, which can support all of the above. MS would probably make more money this way, anyway.
    P. Douglas
  • embedded computers for "internet of things" have to run really lean

    Myerson's unification drive certainly worries me. It is a nice idea in theory, but Win Embedded Compact is an obviously better fit, and I hope they are keeping it alive...RTOS always works better for this sort of thing, and I don't expect WinNT is lean enough for this initiative.
    Mac_PC_FenceSitter
    • Appliances are getting more complex

      Your Smart TV is indication of that. LG always had that Internet Fridge too. Home automation and security needs to be able to multi-task now as well.
      Joe_Raby
    • Oh I don't know

      For an OS like NT Workstation 4.0 Intel's new Quark processor is an absolute beast of a CPU.
      symbolset
  • Microsoft would do well ...

    to integrate with others and try and come up with standards for the home. Microsoft could partner and build the centralized brain, cloud connectivity , etc... Microsoft will LOSE if it tries to create/sell the remote management modules and integration in the appliances themselves (as they will charge too much for those components). Microsoft has a chance here to get their foot back into homes, IF they don't get too greedy. Time will tell.
    jkohut
  • A little late to the party...

    Linux is already there... from 8 bit controllers on up.
    jessepollard
    • Yet, Windows Embedded has been everywhere from day one,

      so, which one wins, and more importantly, which one is more recognizable to the regular user out there? Mention Linux IoT to the regular Joe out there, and they'll be looking at you funny. Mention Windows IoT, and they'll look at you funny, but they'll recognize the Windows branding, which might get them to feel a bit more comfortable than going with the "unknown" Linux. Which OS is more entrenched in ATMs and in cashier stations all over the world? My SUV has SYNC in it, and Android (Linux-based?) is just getting it's research underway, and iOS for IoT is just in the "talking" stage over at Apple.

      The way I see it, experience counts, and MS has more experience at embedded systems than Google or Apple, and whatever Linux IoT is out there, might finally be getting more competition than they bargained for.
      adornoe
      • Funny...

        If you think Apple is in the "talking" stage regarding the IoT era, you don't understand iBeacons. They been embedding their strategy for over two years now in over 100 million devices. Talking? More doing, actually.
        timothyweaver
        • Apple is still, mostly talking, since, in the auto industry, they're

          basically trying to catch up, and in most other areas of industry, they're also trying to catch up, and even in retail, where iBeacons is most relevant, it's not really catching on. Yeah, there are retailers, such as Macy's, which are using iBeacons to some extent, but, after the 2 years you mentioned, it's still very far from widespread or meaningful adoption.

          Apple is still trailing in most areas of industry, and will be for a long time. Apple is, basically, a consumer gadget manufacturer, and most businesses look at them as such.
          adornoe
      • pecular...

        Linux has been spotted in microwaves, coffee brewers, thermostats, TVs, radios, point of sale, marquee displays ...

        You might look at http://efytimes.com/e1/fullnews.asp?edid=118476

        for their list of 7 unusual places Linux has been seen.
        jessepollard
        • If one examines that web page, one comes away feeling sorry for Linux,

          since, most of the applications mentioned are not widespread, and even the coffee maker is a single instance and not available to the general public. A motorcycle is another one mentioned, and, that too is not even close to what one thinks about when talking about widespread usage of IoT, or an embedded OS. The rest of the examples listed are not what people think about when talking about IoT enabled devices. Milking cows is not a widespread application, and neither is the robot mentioned, and neither are the traffic lights, nor the postal office sorter. IoT is about tech embedded into everyone's life, and those applications mentioned in the web page, are not really for widespread usage.

          Now that IoT is "easier" to implement, there will be lots of competition, and yes, even including iOS and Linux and Android and MS embedded/mobile OS. The big question is, which one will become the more accepted technology. To be frank, people won't care which one ends up being the more intrusive (as, in your face), as long as it/they get the job(s) done. The only problem, and probably the biggest, will be the one about being so intrusive, where everything about one's daily life will be known about; it will be like having a spy with you everywhere you go.
          adornoe
    • Shrug

      If a boasting contest needs to happen, the OS inside a Blackberry (QNX) has been there longer than any of them. What of it?
      Mac_PC_FenceSitter
  • Interesting...

    Looks like Jonathan smith was pushed out of Azure, he was fairly new at Azure...Windows Embedded team was always the ugly duckling at Microsoft
    Fghkhg@...
  • Oh, great

    Microsoft and the NSA....together at last!
    vikingnyc@...
  • Late once again

    As one of the biggest tech companies in the world, they should be leading the pack, not on early stages of building a team.
    AleMartin