Kevin Johnson left Microsoft a year ago and his old Platforms & Services Division fragmented with three senior vice presidents Steven Sinofsky, Jon DeVaan and Bill Veghte reporting directly to Steve Ballmer for Windows/Windows Live. Today, Microsoft announced that the musical chairs had ended and Steven Sinofsky is now President of Microsoft’s Windows Division:
Microsoft Corp. today promoted Steven Sinofsky to president of the Windows Division. Sinofsky, a 20-year Microsoft veteran, most recently led the Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group, contributing to the Oct. 22 availability of Windows 7.
As president, Sinofsky assumes responsibility for the Windows business including both the engineering and marketing functions for Windows, Windows Live and Internet Explorer.
As for the other two Senior VP who had reported to Ballmer:
Tami Reller, currently chief financial officer (CFO) for the Windows Division, will take on the additional responsibility for marketing. Bill Veghte will be moving to a new leadership role in the company to be announced later this year. The transition between Reller and Veghte is timed to take place in late July when Windows 7 reaches the release to manufacturing (RTM) milestone. … She will report to Sinofsky and will retain her responsibilities as CFO.
Jon DeVaan will continue in his role as senior vice president, reporting to Sinofsky. DeVaan managed the engineering team responsible for creating the core components of both Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.
Microsoft’s online deck chairs have been in disarray since the departure in July of Kevin Johnson, but they got a new arrangement this week with veteran SVP Yusuf Mehdi picking up responsibility for MSN and Microsoft’s search properties. The best line award goes to Angela Gunn at BetaNews who opines:
Yusuf Mehdi is the new number-two for Microsoft’s Online Services division — but, as The Prisoner would be the first to ask, who is Number One?
A curious question, but par for the course of Microsoft’s online efforts.
Medhi, formerly Senior VP of Strategic Partnerships, has shifted his responsibilities from mergers and acquisitions to MSN and Microsoft’s search properties. He takes most of the job’s marketing and search tasks off the plate of Bill Veghte, the senior VP now focusing mainly on the Windows and Windows Live groups; Veghte picks up a new title, Senior Vice President for the Windows Business.
But Medhi isn’t stepping into the top spot for the online properties group, leaderless since Kevin Johnson jumped for Juniper Networks in the wake of the failed Yahoo acquisition. That leader will be…
…announced at some later date, says Microsoft. For now, Mehdi joins two senior VPs tasked with interim division leadership: Brian McAndrews, who manages the Advertiser and Publisher Solutions Group, and Satya Nadella, head of the Search, Portal, and Advertising Platform Group.
Until a new Online Audience Business head is hired, the three will report to CEO Steve Ballmer, who’s said to be still seeking a high-profile “get” — internal or external — for the top spot. A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed to BetaNews Tuesday afternoon that the search is still most definitely on for that person.
Mr. Ballmer is apparently asking volunteers to step forward and everyone is taking one step back. I’d suggest an immense signing bonus and a similar golden parachute.
As had been promised, Microsoft last night launched their new advertising campaign featuring comedian Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates. Developed by "bad boy" ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the intent of this campaign was supposed to be to make Microsoft look "cool" and counter Apple’s PC vs Mac ad campaign. Take a look at the TV commercial played during last night’s National Football League season opening game and see whether you think it does that:
Frankly, it reminds me of the infamous Microsoft Zune scratching dog commercial – some minimally amusing goofiness that all but screams "bathroom break" to TV viewers and no significant mention of Microsoft or its products. Other reactions:
I’m sure CP+B will be reminding their nervous client today that advertising is directed at consumers, not tech bloggers, but I suspect they’ll have to come up with something more than that to put lipstick on this pig.
Update: Here’s the Microsoft spin on the new ad campaign and you know you are in trouble when they start hyping "conversation":
These initial ads are the first in a creative campaign by the award-winning advertising agency Crispin, Porter + Bogusky, designed to spark a conversation about the Windows brand – a conversation that will evolve as the campaign progresses, but will always be marked by humor and humanity.
For more "conversation" blather see also the associated video interview with Microsoft CVP of Windows Consumer Marketing, Brad Brooks. When the flacks are talking "conversation", I am always reminded of Nicholas Carr’s diatribe on the subject:
Who exactly crowned "conversation" king? A handful of self-absorbed bloggers banging away at their little keyboards? Conversation isn’t king. Good products and services at fair prices are king – always were, always will be. Which would you rather do business with – a company that delivers great goods but has no interest in buttonholing you into some pathetic excuse for "a conversation," or a company that sells you crap but is great at conversing? Well, duh.
Microsoft would do well to heed his advice.
Update: Microsoft SVP Bill Veghte joins the conversation conga line in a letter to Microsoft employees.
Yesterday Microsoft held their annual Financial Analyst Meeting for 2008 and while you can view the full video and (nearly unreadable) transcripts of the presentations, it was mostly predictable fare. However, there were a few newsworthy nuggets::
"One last thing I wanted to also talk about is an extension of our Facebook relationship where we are extending it to Search and Page Search. We will be providing an API to Facebook where they will create a rich search experience, including a Web search for the Facebook users. And that’s something that they will launch in the fall, working with us, and it’ll carry both our Web results as well as our Page Search advertising."
We still have the possibility of doing a search transaction, which we think makes some economic sense. If I had a worry it’s the parallel paths continue, and about the time Yahoo decides that search deal makes sense for them is probably about the time that we have committed to our own plan so much that it may no longer make sense for us."