Who's who on Microsoft's new operating systems team

Microsoft's new cross-platform operating system team includes a number of former Windows big-wigs and few of the members of the most recent Windows regime.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

The pieces are starting to fall into place following Microsoft's sweeping cross-company reorg, announced back in July.


The first of the newly reorg'd teams -- the OS engineering group, headed by Executive Vice President Terry Myerson -- announced internally on September 9  the newly realigned roster of managers.

Myerson's new team is charged with creating the Windows Phone, Windows and Xbox One operating systems powering Microsoft's phone, tablet/PC and TV/console systems. Before being named Executive Vice President of the OS unit, Myerson was head of the Windows Phone engineering team. 

The core platform team in Myerson's new org is still going to be organized around a functional triumvarite, meaning there will be heads of program management, test and development. Myerson did a clean sweep here, as noted by GeekWire. David Treadwell is the new head of program management; Mike Fortin is the new head of test; and Henry Sanders is the new head of development. Treadwell was most recently on Xbox, Fortin on Windows and Sanders on Windows Phone.

The program management/test/development team that had previously worked on Windows 8 consisted of Julie Larson-Green (now heading  Microsoft's Devices & Studios team), Grant George and Jon DeVaan. George and DeVaan seemingly have been pushed aside in the latest reorg, as has Antoine Leblond, who replaced Larson-Green as the head of Windows program management. (Larson-Green, George, DeVaan and Leblond all worked with former Microsoft Windows President Steven Sinofsky, dating back to the time he led the Office business.)

It's not clear whether DeVaan, Leblond and George will stay with the company or leave, according to contacts of mine who asked not to be identified. However, the Internet Explorer team, which is still headed by Dean Hachamovitch, is part of Myerson's new org, though it's still a bit unclear to whom Hachamovitch will report directly, I hear.

It's interesting that the new OS core leadership trio -- Treadwell, Fortin and Sanders -- are all former Core Operating Systems Division (COSD) folks. According to one of my sources, that's not a coincidence. Bringing the old Windows band back together might right some of the perceived wrongs instituted by the Windows management in recent years. Pitting WinDev against DevDiv and focusing on touch tablets while largely ignoring the non-touch Windows desktop experience in designing Windows 8 led to dissatisfaction among a number of Microsoft developers and users. The overarching goal for Myerson's OS division is to break down boundaries further between the different flavors of Windows.

As first reported by AllThingsD this week, Myerson also has chosen a mix of managers to head up the multidisciplinary teams inside the new OS org. Joe Belfiore is going to head up a cross PC-phone-tablets team. Marc Whitten will head up the TV and large screen team, which also includes Xbox Live. And Chris Jones will head up OS services -- which in this new org, include SkyDrive.

There's also a team working on a new device category (expected to be wearable computing devices) inside Myerson's new org.

It's worth noting that the Windows Server team isn't part of the new cross-divisional OS team. Nor is Windows Embedded. Both of those product groups will remain with the Cloud and Enterprise Group, under Executive Vice President Satya Nadella.

Both Myerson and Nadella are said to be under consideration for replacing Steve Ballmer as Microsoft CEO, as are a few other top Microsoft execs, including Tony Bates, the newly minted Microsoft Executive Vice President of Business Development and Evangelism (and former Skype CEO). Other rumored possible CEO candidates include Stephen Elop, who is rejoining Microsoft as part of Microsoft's recent Nokia handset acquisition, as well as non-Microsoft veterans like Ford CEO Alan Mulally.

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