More Microsoft reorg moves shed light on cross-platform experience plans

Microsoft is moving more product groups under Corporate Vice President Joe Belfiore, sources say, as part of its cross-platform experience strategy.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

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It's been two weeks since Microsoft announced its latest reorg, which resulted in the Windows client engineering team being split into two parts. The post-reorg dust is continuing to settle.


This week, Microsoft Corporate Vice President Joe Belfiore picked up some new reports, shedding more light on the company's strategy to try to stay relevant in the mobile realm.

Belfiore is one of Executive Vice President Rajesh Jha's new lieutenants. Jha runs the newly created Experiences & Devices engineering unit. And as of the recent reorg, Belfiore was appointed to lead the Windows client experiences team. The Windows Shell and the Edge browser are both part of what's considered the "Windows Experience."

But yesterday, April 16, a few other non-Windows-specific teams were moved under Belfiore, according to several sources who requested anonymity. Belfiore now also oversees Education, OneNote and Wunderlist/To-Do. Education, OneNote, and Wunderlist have been run as a group for the past couple of years by Corporate Vice President Eran Megiddo.

(Since he returned from his leave of absence, Belfiore already was the Windows + Devices leader for Education, partnering with Office, but he didn't oversee the EDU team directly, I believe.)

Last year, at its Build developer conference, Microsoft officials detailed their plans to try to keep Windows a relevant part of new mobile scenarios by making iOS and Android users' computing experiences better with features like Pick Up Where You Left Off. Releasing Edge browser apps for iOS and Android also was part of this plan.

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With Belfiore's expanded responsibilities, it looks like Microsoft plans to continue to go this route by trying to use its cross-platform apps like OneNote and To-Do to connect seamlessly with Windows PCs and to make "modern" productivity scenarios better. To-Do and OneNote already work on a variety of platforms.

Separately, I also heard from one of my contacts that Microsoft has moved the Skype consumer team under Outlook as part of phase 2 of the latest reorg. Gaurav Sareen is the corporate vice president currently in charge of Outlook, Yammer, and Office 365 Groups. He is expected to add Skype consumer to his responsibilities, I believe.

Microsoft's makeover of Skype consumer last year was not well received by customers.

Recently, Microsoft moved Corporate Vice President Javier Soltero, who joined the company when Microsoft bought Acompli in 2014, from his position as the CVP of Office Product Group to CVP of Cortana. (Cortana, for now, still sits under Mirosoft's AI + Research Group, as does Bing.)

I asked Microsoft to confirm this week's alleged moves and a spokesperson said the company had "nothing to share."

Jha's reorg'ed teams include not just Office product leaders and Belfiore, but also other former Windows and Devices leaders, including Panos Panay, Kudo Tsunoda, and Brad Anderson. A big part of Jha's Experiences & Devices mission is to grow the market for Microsoft 365, which is Microsoft's bundle of Windows 10, Office 365, and Enterprise Mobility + Security, sold as a subscription service.

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