Microsoft's Rudder moves to new advanced strategy post

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.'
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

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?

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