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March 22, 2007

Nadella gets Microsoft ad and search development hot seat

Posted by David Hunter at 1:14 PM ET.

Earlier this month it was revealed that Blake Irving, Microsoft’s Windows Live Development leader, and Christopher Payne, head of development for Windows Live Search, were leaving the company. Today, Benjamin J. Romano reports at the Seattle Times that Microsoft has tapped Satya Nadella to run a new Internet search and ad organization formed out of the pieces and reporting directly to Platforms and Services Division President Kevin Johnson:

Microsoft will try a new combination of leadership and organizational structure to lift its Internet search business out of the cellar.

The company on Wednesday named Satya Nadella … to head research and development for a new group combining both Internet search and the advertising platform through which search generates cash.

Nadella, who will take over by April 19, assumes responsibility for a high-profile, high-pressure part of the business where Microsoft has struggled against entrenched competition.

Last month, more than half of the estimated 3.6 billion U.S. Internet searches were done using Google. Yahoo! was second and Microsoft’s MSN/Windows Live Search was third with a 9.6 percent share, according to data released earlier this week by Nielsen//NetRatings. What’s more, Google expanded its market share by 40 percent in the previous year; Microsoft grew 9 percent.

We mentioned the NetRatings numbers on Tuesday and yesterday comScore reported an even gloomier picture for Microsoft. Nadella is used to gloomy pictures though – his previous assignment was leading the troubled Microsoft Business Solutions.

Update: Ed Oswald at Betanews reports that Tami Reller will be the temporary replacement for Nadella at MBS (aka Dynamics).

Filed under Blake Irving, Coopetition, Executives, Google, Kevin Johnson, Live Search, MBS, MSN, Microsoft, Satya Nadella, Tami Reller, Windows Live, Yahoo, adCenter

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March 2, 2007

Windows Live’s Blake Irving to resign?

Posted by David Hunter at 7:00 PM ET.

Mary Jo Foley reports that Microsoft Windows Live exec Blake Irving has resigned:

Blake Irving, a Corporate Vice President in Microsoft’s Windows Live Platform group, is resigning his post, according to sources close to the company.

Irving, a 15-year Microsoft veteran, is in charge of the back-end Live platform — the datacenter, technical operations, advertising intelligence, security, identity, VOIP, mobile and application services being built across Windows Live, Office Live, Xbox Live and other Microsoft applications.

No word on where Irving is going or who his replacement will be. But sources said Irving will likely remain at Microsoft for several months before hanging up his Live hat.

No comment from Microsoft at this point.

Irving took over the Windows Live Platform Group less than a year ago. Aside from the oddly overlapping responsibilities of the VPs in Microsoft’s Platform and Services Division and Kevin Johnson’s newly acquired ability to organize things to his own satisfaction now that co-president Jim Allchin has retired, another reason for a change might be rancor over Windows Live’s inability to gain any traction.

Update 3/4: Rumor confirmed. Irving is leaving in “late summer.”

Filed under Blake Irving, Employee Retention, Executives, General Business, Microsoft, Windows Live

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March 23, 2006

Microsoft shakes up Platforms and Services but did the other shoe really drop?

Posted by David Hunter at 5:38 PM ET.

As rumored, Microsoft shook up Windows development by putting Steven Sinofsky in charge. Sort of. The full press release (see also the internal Microsoft memo) raises more questions than it answers, but one thing is clear – there is no shortage of Vice Presidents at Microsoft and they each get their own independent but overlapping pieces of the pie in the Platform and Services Division.

Let’s start with Sinofsky:

Windows and Windows Live Group

With Sinofsky in charge, the Windows and Windows Live Group will have engineering teams focused on delivering Windows and engineering teams focused on delivering the Windows Live experiences.

Sounds like he’s in charge of developing Windows and Windows Live, right? Not so fast:

Core Operating System Division (COSD)

Brian Valentine will continue to lead this group, which is focused on building the industry’s leading operating system foundation to power Microsoft’s platform products. Valentine’s mission remains focused on shipping Windows Vista.

Windows Live Platform Group

Blake Irving will lead the newly formed Windows Live Platform Group, which unites a number of MSN teams that have been building platform services and capabilities for Microsoft’s online offerings. This group provides the back-end infrastructure services, platform capabilities and global operational support for services being created in Windows Live, Office Live, and other Microsoft and third-party applications that use the Live platform. This includes the advertising and monetization platforms that support all Live service offerings.

I’ll bet the lines of responsibility are clear there! A Microsoft spokesman denied that the Vista schedule slip had anything to do with the reorganization and looking at it, you can well believe the denial.

Of course there is more – also reporting to the PSD co-Presidents, Kevin Johnson and Jim Allchin (who will retire next year), are:

Online Business Group

The new Online Business Group includes advertising sales, business development and marketing for Live Platforms, Windows Live and MSN — including, MSNTV and MSN Internet Access. David Cole, senior vice president, will lead this group until his successor is named before his leave of absence at the end of April.

Market Expansion Group

Will Poole will be moving to lead a newly created group focused on emerging markets and new form factors. Establishing a Market Expansion organization with product marketing and research and development responsibilities will bring focus to this key growth area for Microsoft and its potential customers around the world through products such as Windows XP Starter Edition and the recently launched Ultra-Mobile PC devices.

Windows Client Marketing Group

Mike Sievert continues to lead Windows Client Marketing and remains responsible for product management and marketing of the Windows operating system, including Windows Vista.

Server and Tools Business Group

Bob Muglia will continue to lead Microsoft’s rapidly growing Server and Tools business, and remains focused on products and services that empower IT pros and developers.

Developer and Platform Evangelism Group

Sanjay Parthasarathy will continue to lead the developer and platform evangelism efforts for the company as Microsoft further enables developers to build applications combining software and services.

These seem fairly straightforward and it’s nice to see that Server and Tools was fortunate enough not to get “clarified.” It’s a cash cow that’s growing nicely, but never gets the buzz. Finally, besides all the divisions and groups above, the PSD co-Presidents have all the usual staff executives from finance, legal and HR reporting to them too as described in the internal Microsoft memo obtained by Microsoft Watch.

Filed under Blake Irving, Bob Muglia, Brian Valentine, Executives, Jim Allchin, Kevin Johnson, Microsoft, Mike Sievert, Sanjay Parthasarathy, Steven Sinofsky, Will Poole

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