Microsoft today made an omnibus executive rearrangement announcement covering a variety of Corporate and Senior Vice Presidents. Here are the novel aspects from my perspective:
The Vista parade may be forming up, but there are a few clouds in the area:
After releasing Vista Release Candidate 2 on Friday, Microsoft pulled the public download on Monday, but that was because it had already hit the download limit they had planned. More ominous is that RC2 testers are still spotting obvious problems (e.g. , , , ) including Microsoft’s Corporate VP of Microsoft Client Marketing, Mike Sievert, who hit a Vista bug during his demo keynote at the Digital Life 2006 show. Of course this isn’t entirely unexpected, but some are regressions from RC1. I’m guessing there will be a nice juicy service pack in short order after launch.
Whatever the overall security state, Vista’s PatchGuard is still secure from 3rd party software developers as Microsoft stands firm:
Microsoft is still talking with partners who are complaining about how the Redmond, Wash. developer has set up Windows Vista’s security, but it won’t budge from its decision to lock down access to the kernel, a company security manager said Thursday.
Meanwhile a security researcher predicts PatchGuard will be hacked soon after Vista’s release. All of which reminds us that the European Commission’s chief rainmaker Neelie Kroes has yet to be heard from.
Last but not least, Ed Bott and Robert McLaws have been reading the fine print in the Vista End User License Agreement (EULA) and find that Microsoft slipped in some new restrictions compared to Windows XP.
Today at DigitalLife 2006, Microsoft Corp. announced the holiday availability of PCs, software, hardware and games that will work with Windows Vista™. More than 250 hardware and software products from over 50 industry partners have received either the Certified for Windows Vista logo or the Works with Windows Vista logo created to help consumers more easily identify software and devices that are compatible with the new operating system. The Works with Windows Vista logo helps ensure compatibility, and the Certified for Windows Vista logo indicates that a particular software or device will help deliver a superior end-user experience when used with a PC running a Windows Vista operating system.
During his opening keynote address, Mike Sievert, corporate vice president of Windows Client Marketing at Microsoft, emphasized the breadth of products on the market come the holidays that will work with Windows Vista. “We are thrilled that so many of our industry partners are working with us to bring Certified for Windows Vista software and devices to market this holiday season,” said Sievert. “This certification helps ensure our customers will have a great experience with these products now, and an even better one when they are using them with Windows Vista. These products will make a great gift for the holidays that gets better with Windows Vista.”
Some examples of the logoed merchandise by following the link. Of course they would be even be better holiday gifts if Windows Vista were available too, but no need to hammer that nail again. Also lined up is the “Ready 2 Rock Road Show with Intel to proselytize the system builders, as if they needed it. Scott M. Fulton III at BetaNews:
How, exactly, Intel plans to make its business case on a public stage with a rock-and-roll theme, may just be worth the price of admission to find out. There is a price, by the way – $19.95 for tickets purchased in advance, or up to $59.95 for a limited “backstage pass,” which will presumably enable attendees to get a first-hand look at the new systems and their presenters.
Interestingly, one of the half-hour talks during the 12-hour session, for each of the 23 cities, is entitled, “Tune Up Your Hardware Sales Today While Planning for the Future.” The description of this session says everything you may want to know about the strategy Microsoft and Intel have chosen in the face of Vista’s delays.
“Show customers that they can have the best of both worlds,” says the Ready 2 Rock Web site, “The dual-core computing power of today, and the advanced features of Windows Vista tomorrow. Instead of waiting for the next Microsoft operating system, keep selling Windows Vista-ready systems now, and upgrade customers when it comes available.”
It’s not clear what else the system builders could do, but I note the appearance of the word “upgrade” without the word “coupon.” The latest Vista upgrade coupon rumor had the Windows Vista Technology Upgrade Program starting Oct. 26, but there’s a nary a mention in the press releases.
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 MSN.com, 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.