Microsoft's Rudder moves to new advanced strategy post

Microsoft's Rudder moves to new advanced strategy post

Summary: The Microsoft executive shuffle continues, with one-time Bill Gates heir-apparent Eric Rudder taking on a newly created role as head of 'Advanced Strategy.'


The executive shuffle is continuing at Microsoft, with two more high-profile execs getting new posts.


On November 13, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced via an e-mail message to all Microsoft employes that Eric Rudder is moving from his current post as Executive Vice President of Technology & Research, to a newly created role as Executive Vice President of Advanced Strategy. Taking Rudder's Technology & Research job is Harry Shum, who currently leads Bing Engineering at the company.

In his new position, Rudder will be overseeing undisclosed "key, cross company technology initiatives," according to Ballmer's e-mail. Rudder is set to move ino the new job in mid-December 2013.

In December 2012, Rudder took over completely the management of Microsoft Research, Trustworthy Computing, and the Technology Policy Group. Before that, he had been keeping a low profile since leaving his job as head of Server & Tools at the company, way back in 2006.

In the early 2000s, Rudder was often mentioned as one of the likely possible CEO successors to Bill Gates. But then he went underground to work mysterious projects, like Microsoft's Midori operating system.

For his part, Shum headed up the Microsoft Research China ateam before taking on the job of running Bing engineering. Qi Lu, the head of Microsoft's new applications and services engineering unit, is going to manage Shum's Bing engineering direct reports until a new head of engineering for Bing is appointed, according to the Ballmer e-mail.

What to make of these latest two changes of the guard? I genuinely don't think the moves signal any kind of intention by Microsoft's senior leadership to sell Bing. Bing is increasingly integrated into more and more Microsoft products and technologies -- including still-unannounced ones like Microsoft's "Cortana" rival to Apple's Siri -- making a Bing sell-off not only questionable, execution-wise, but also strategy-wise.

I also don't think Rudder's appointment means anything about how soon (if ever) any of the technology incubations, such as Midori, in which he's been involved, will debut.

Anybody have any guesses (educated or not) about what -- if anything -- these executive moves may mean, as CEO Steve Ballmer's replacement is expected to be named any time now?

Topics: Microsoft, Emerging Tech


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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  • Cortana is Siris sister

    Since Apple uses Bing for Siri. I would also agree that Bing is a critical part of Microsofts ecosystem.

    This is why it would be stupid to pick Elop who only keen to keep shareholders happy by hiving off Bing. Just pick Techno Satya Nadella and get on with restoring Microsoft Technical capability and talent.
    • Anyone who thinks selling Bing is a good idea doesn't know what Bing is

      They probably think it's just a google search competitor. Bing is the brains of windows, windows phone, office, and xbox. And more coming soon. Microsoft doesn't need any investors who want to see the share price rise in 12-24 months just for their own personal profit, just to then sell it off and not give a crap if the company crumbles afterwards. Value act and the rest of the corporate raiders can take a hike. The first thing whoever the new CEO is should do is put out a press release confirming their long term commitment to Bing, Xbox, Surface, and lots of future consumer devices and services. Enterprise is the present, unsustainable without consumer.
      Johnny Vegas
  • Mary Jo, you need to do an MS Exec org chart to help us keep score.

    With a listing of each person, how long they've been in their position, and where they came from. That way we'll be able to figure out the winners and losers once the new CEO arrives. Consensus seems to be that if Elop gets the nod, things could get downright Machiavellian in Redmond.
    • 2nd a MS Exec org Chart

      i wonder how does this differ from the role that is occupied by Tony Bates as Executive Vice President of Microsoft responsible for Business Development, Strategy and Evangelism.
      Is that Strategy role no longer fall under Tony Bates ?
    • A slight correction, Matthew...

      Permit me to modify your statement "if Elop gets the nod, things could get downright Machiavellian in Redmond" as follows:

      "...if Elop gets the nod, things could get EVEN MORE Machiavellian in Redmond"!!!
  • One of the questions I have is...

    ...why is a lame duck CEO moving executives around instead of allowing his successor to make those decisions? This is hardly an urgent matter.

    As always, I find the inflated titles like "Executive Vice President of Advanced Strategy" highly amusing (though MS is hardly the only company guilty of this). Are there any MS-execs who aren't Vice Presidents other than Steve Ballmer?
    John L. Ries
  • Re-titling executives is just a great sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    Anyone who thinks that changing Joe the Schlemiel's name to Joe the Shlimazel somehow elevates them is delusional.
  • The only reason...

    I see to move like this, that is to say prior to announcing their next CEO, is that they already have the guy and are working with him to organize the top échelons.
    There, I wouldn't be surprised to hear that Ballmer, Gates and whoever-they've-picked attend regular meetings (virtual or in-person) together.
  • so Rudder...

    is or is not 'steering' the ship?

    boom boom...