Microsoft has been looking for a new head of its OEM business since late last year. It has found one: Steve Guggenheimer, head of the company's application platform business.
Guggenheimer will become the new Corporate Vice President in charge of Microsoft's OEM Divisionas of early March. He will continue to serve as the head of Microsoft's application-platform division until a replacement there is named, sources said.
I asked Microsoft for confirmation on Guggenheimer's appointment. Yep, it's a done deal. From a company spokeswoman:
"We can confirm that Steven Guggenheimer is taking on a new role and being rewarded for strong performance with a promotion. He will assume the role of Corporate VP of the OEM division. Steven will remain fully engaged in his current role through the global "Heroes Happen Here" launch with his transition occurring the first part of March.
"During the past 3 years, Steven has served as the General Manager for Technical Audience engagements and the Application Platform business. He has contributed to the Server and Tools Business which has seen 22 consecutive quarters of double digit growth. This experience is directly relevant to his leadership role in the OEM division."
Microsoft is not discussing currently who Guggenheimer's successor will be, the spokeswoman said.
The OEM-chief spot at Microsoft carries a lot of weight. Guggenheimer's predecessor Scott Di Valerio oversaw Microsoft’s relationships with makers of personal computers and other devices, multinational and regional OEMs and embedded systems manufacturers
Guggenheimer is a 13-year Microsoft veteran who has done everything from product marketing for Windows 95 and Internet Explorer, to consumer strategy marketing for MSN, MSTV, etc. In his most recent role, he managed Microsoft's application platform business, including its overall strategy, SQL Server, Visual Studio, the .NEt Framework and BizTalk.
Guggenheimer's move is part of the company-wide reorg that Microsoft is finally expected to acknowledge next week. Executive reshufflings that Microsoft will position as part of that reorg have been leaking out over the past couple of months, including the expected departures of Corporate Vice President of Windows Marketing Chief Michael Sievert; Online Services Business Senior Vice President Steve Berkowitz, among other moves.
The top OEM-manager spot at Microsoft is one that's been subject to a lot of turnover over the past several years.
The longest reigning of Microsoft’s OEM chiefs was the controversial Joachim Kempin, who left his post in 2000. Richard Roy, head of Microsoft Germany, stepped in to fill Kempin’s shoes. Next, Richard Fade, the VP in charge of Microsoft’s desktop applications division, headed the OEM unit for a couple of years, during the tough DOJ sanction-negotiation period. Then, in July of 2002, Rodrigo Costa took the OEM reins. In 2005, Di Valerio took over, only to move to Lenovo in the fall of 2007.
Some company watchers have remarked on the fact that Microsoft has been hiring a number of outsiders, as of late, to take key management roles. Guggenheimer's move doesn't fit that pattern.