Microsoft today announced it is merging the Exchange and Real-Time Collaboration (RTC) groups to form the Unified Communications Group (UCG). With the mission-critical nature of e-mail and the rapidly increasing use of instant messaging, VoIP, audio/video/Web conferencing, customers are asking for an integrated communications experience that enables them to intuitively and seamlessly communicate across all modes of communication. The merger of the teams aligns Microsoft’s efforts internally and allows the company to more rapidly and effectively addresses these customer needs.
The Unified Communications Group resides in Microsoft’s Business Division, led by division President Jeff Raikes. The combined group will be led by Anoop Gupta, currently corporate vice president of the RTC group.
Gupta, whose leadership of the combined unit was also announced Monday, used to head the RTC unit. Under the changes, Exchange chief Dave Thompson will continue to direct that product, but will report to Gupta. Thompson had reported to Paul Flessner, a senior vice president in the server and tools business.
You may recall that the Business Division was created last September by having Information Worker (aka Office) and Microsoft Business Solutions report to Raikes, so the net is that Exchange has been moved out of Server and Tools (part of the Kevin Johnson/Jim Allchin Platform Products & Services Division) and into Office.
The rest of the press release has some Q&A’s with Gupta which provide the usual corporate reorganization rationale of improved coordination, but I’m sure it didn’t hurt that a premier server product like Exchange will add some earnings mojo to the lackluster results in the Business Division (, ).
And speaking of financial results, Microsoft separately announced the CFOs for the three overarching divisions created in the September announcement. Details are in the Ina Fried article linked above.