Another Microsoft Developer Division leader moves to Windows Azure

Jason Zander is moving to Microsoft's Windows Azure team, where he will be Corporate Vice President of Development.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

It was over a year ago when Microsoft Corporate Vice President Scott Guthrie moved from Microsoft's Developer Division to the Windows Azure team.


And now another Microsoft Developer Division bigwig is following in his footsteps, moving to the Azure side of the Server & Tools house.

Jason Zander, the Corporate Vice President of the Visual Studio engineering team, will be heading up development on the  Windows Azure team. Guthrie is the head of program management on Azure.

Zander's new title -- which Microsoft acknowledged in mid-August, will be Corporate Vice President of Development. (At the time Microsoft officials acknowledged his title, it wasn't known or mentioned that Zander would be moving from DevDiv to Azure.)

A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed Zander will be working on Azure, but didn't offer any additional particulars.

“With Visual Studio 2012 and .NET 4.5 now available and as we begin to work on future versions of Visual Studio and offerings, this is the right time to make organizational changes," said the spokesperson via an e-mailed statement. "As part of the recent STB (Server and Tools Business) organizational changes, Jason Zander effectively began his transition to a new role leading the Windows Azure development team. He’ll continue to be a member of Satya Nadella’s STB leadership team in the role of CVP, Development, Windows Azure. The DevDiv organization will continue to be led by S Somasegar.”

Zander has been with Microsoft since 1992. He no longer has a publicly facing Microsoft bio page, as Microsoft began removing bio pages of all but its most senior executives from its Web site in April of this year.

Another biographical listing for him noted that in his most recent role, Zander oversaw "the Visual Studio family of products, which covers a range of technologies: programming languages; JavaScript runtime and tools; integrated development environment and ecosystem; Microsoft Office, SharePoint and cloud tooling integration; source control and work item tracking; and advanced architecture, developer, and testing tools." He also is listed as one of the original developers of the Common Language Runtime (CLR).

Microsoft just put the finishing touches on its latest Visual Studio release, Visual Studio 2012, and launched that product on September 12.

What's behind Zander's move? Many Microsoft employees switch teams after a major new product is released. But this move, according to one of my contacts, was more about Microsoft's new favored organizational structure than anything else.

Just like Windows client, Office and Windows Server & Cloud, the Developer Division is being restructured so that three Corporate Vice Presidents report up to a single high-level leader.

Developer Division has been forced to go to "the triad (dev, test and PM) and Zander was running all of those for Visual Studio," said the contact, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Hence his move to another role on a different team. 

Since Guthrie moved to the Azure Application Platform team, that group has done much to make the Azure platform more attractive to both Microsoft and open-source developers. With releases like the Azure Mobile Services offering, Microsoft is seeking to go further in making Azure more useful and accessible to software developers across a variety of platforms.  

Microsoft is expected to use its upcoming Build conference at the end of October to continue to beat the Azure development drum, as well.


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