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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times reporter Sharon Chan.

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March 9, 2009 4:17 PM

Microsoft adds board member, declares 13 cent per share quarterly dividend

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

MariaKlaweWebBio.jpgMicrosoft announced this afternoon that Maria Klawe, president of Harvey Mudd College and a Ph.D, mathematician and computer scientist, is the 10th member of the company's board of directors. The board also declared a quarterly dividend of 13 cents per share, up from 11 cents in the fiscal third quarter of 2008.

(Image via Harvey Mudd.)

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March 9, 2009 6:04 AM

Profile: Kirill Tatarinov, head of Microsoft Business Solutions

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

From today's paper, a profile of Kirill Tatarinov, corporate vice president in charge of Microsoft Business Solutions:

Even with somewhere north of $1 billion in annual sales, Microsoft Business Solutions is dwarfed by the enormous Office business that it shares space with in the company's quarterly reports.


But Kirill Tatarinov, the group's leader since July 2007, said MBS brings more to the broader Microsoft than revenue from its Dynamics-branded systems, which manage a company's customer relationships, suppliers, inventory and other business basics.

It provides a "proof point to business decision makers" using the whole set of Microsoft server technologies, Tatarinov said. The Dynamics products "take advantage of all the innovation that's happening" on Windows Server, Visual Studio, Office and other major products Microsoft sells to businesses.

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March 3, 2009 6:01 PM

Microsoft vendors and contingent workers total more than 79,000, on top of direct employees

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

It's widely known that Microsoft has a large contingent work force in addition to its 96,000 direct, regular employees worldwide. But the company has never publicly quantified these workers, who typically work through third-party firms and do everything from mow the lawns to write software.

According to numbers reviewed by The Seattle Times, Microsoft has roughly 70,700 vendors, as well as 8,600 "other" workers worldwide. The "other" category includes mostly agency temps -- the so-called "a-" workers -- but also visiting researchers and interns.

The numbers come from HeadTrax, an internal application used to track human resources. It lists a total head count of more than 175,700 people who could be broadly described as earning some portion of their living through work for Microsoft. The figure does not appear to include the impact of 1,400 layoffs announced in January and set to take effect later this month as part of an 18-month plan to cut a net 2,000 to 3,000 full-time jobs.

Microsoft spokesman Lou Gellos said the numbers are "within the ballpark," but added that HeadTrax is essentially a "running barometer" for the company to keep a handle on things. He added that the vendor number "varies widely depending upon what's going on at any given time."

Vendors perform a range of functions of varying durations for the company through outside service providers. A landscaping company, for example, may get badges so that a crew of workers can come on campus to mow lawns. But even though the crew is included in the count of vendors, they might not work at Microsoft every day.

This can cause the vendor figure to appear artificially high, Gellos said.

Other functions performed by contingent staff, both vendors and agency temps, include staffing reception desks, driving the company's shuttles and Connector buses, writing technical documentation, providing security, moving offices, writing and testing software code, lending specific expertise to major projects and more.

The HeadTrax information did not indicate where the employees are located. Microsoft does report its local regular, work force. At the end of January it had about 41,555 in the Puget Sound region, about 43 percent of the total at that point.

Matt Rosoff, analyst with Kirkland-based independent research firm Directions on Microsoft, said the number of contract workers is not surprising, but is interesting to see quantified.

"We had always heard that Microsoft has about as many contract employees as it does full-time employees, so 70,000 [vendors] seems very reasonable to me," Rosoff said.

A segment of the contingent staff has been in the spotlight in recent days after Microsoft lowered by 10 percent the amount it pays U.S. third-party temporary agencies that place these workers in assignments at the company. Many of the temp agencies are passing a similar cut on to the contract employees. (The 10 percent cut, part of a broader Microsoft cost-cutting effort, has so far affected only the so-called "a-" agency temp workers, of whom there were recently about 7,200 worldwide.)

Rosoff said the total global head count figure, 175,700, may still miss some people at other companies that do most of their work for Microsoft.

"In the Seattle area, there are plenty of small development companies who are mostly dependent on Microsoft outsourcing work to them," Rosoff said. "Say an internal product group wants to build a SharePoint site and nobody has time to do it. That's the kind of thing they might outsource."

Microsoft's use of contingent workers matches the broader trend in the technology industry, said Eric Gregg, a managing partner at the Inavero Institute, a Portland firm that provides research on and for the staffing industry.

"It is no longer the case that companies view temporary and contract strategy as their 'contingent' workforce, but rather their flexible workforce," Gregg said via e-mail. "... In the technology space, this reliance on temporary and contract labor is even more pronounced than in many of the other sectors."

The HeadTrax numbers reveal that Microsoft is vying with Boeing in terms of global work force. On Feb. 28, the aerospace giant had 161,594 employees including subsidiaries and long-term contractors. It's difficult to make a direct comparison, however, because of the caveats for Microsoft's vendor work force mentioned above and different methodologies used by each company to count their various types of workers.

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February 26, 2009 5:55 AM

Microsoft temps face 10 percent pay cut

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

The thousands of contractors who work at Microsoft through third-party agencies are facing pay cuts beginning Monday, as Microsoft continues to look for ways to cut costs.

Microsoft and its contracting agencies agreed to a 10 percent cut in the bill rate, impacting all temporary worker assignments. Several contract employees have said the reduction is being passed on to them in the form of a pay cut. One person said some agencies are seeking to pass deeper pay cuts onto their workers. Several contractors contacted The Seattle Times, asking for anonymity for fear that speaking out would jeopardize their jobs.

The 10 percent cut is for existing contracts. New contracts will have a 15 percent reduction in the rate.

The cuts are not a complete surprise, as Microsoft had been trimming its contract work force even before it announced layoffs of 1,400 full-time employees Jan. 22 -- the first major job reduction in company history. At that time, the company also said it intended to cut spending on contractors by up to 15 percent.

Another contractor said the cuts impact so-called "a-dash" employees, also known as contingent staff. It's not immediately clear if "v-dash" employees, who are vendors, are facing similar cuts.

Notification of some contract employees began Tuesday. Microsoft does not disclose how many contractors it employs. These workers staff reception desks, test software, provide specialized consulting services and perform other functions that keep the company running through outside agencies. Sid Parakh, analyst at McAdams Wright Ragen, has estimated the figure to be around 40,000.

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February 13, 2009 6:58 AM

Microsoft Zune split into hardware, software teams

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

CNET's Ina Fried reports that on Jan. 22, Microsoft split its Zune digital music team in two: one focused on the software and services, which it plans to expand onto other, non-Microsoft devices, and another focused on the Zune hardware.

[Update, 12:34 p.m.: Added comments from Robbie Bach, head of Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices Division, on the rationale for the change.]

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February 12, 2009 2:21 PM

What fate for Bill Gates' famous 'Think Weeks' at Microsoft?

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

First mentioned last week in Mini-Microsoft's "pause" post, Microsoft is apparently rethinking the weeklong study sessions instituted by Bill Gates and later expanded to be a tool for percolating ideas up to the top from throughout the company. Mini wrote, "Within our leadership, there's no one left who wants to read your Think Week paper, so they're killing that off."Mary Jo Foley followed up today, quoting a Microsoft spokesperson saying the company remains committed to innovation, and it is "evaluating how best to evolve Think Week."

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February 10, 2009 5:08 PM

Microsoft's new communications head is Simon Sproule, formerly of Nissan

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

sproule.jpg Simon Sproule begins March 2 as corporate vice president of corporate communications for Microsoft, filling a role that has been vacant since Larry Cohen left the company last year to become Bill Gates' chief of staff, the company announced this afternoon. Sproule, 40, will report to Mich Matthews, senior vice president of the Central Marketing Group at Microsoft.

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January 21, 2009 8:41 PM

Some Microsoft employees bracing for an early morning announcement

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Microsoft employees I spoke with this evening were preparing for a major announcement -- possibly news of layoffs -- from the company early Thursday. One person expected to be notified around 7 a.m. No one I spoke with had details on the size of any job cuts or specific groups that might be affected. All were looking forward to the prospect of the persistent, distracting layoff rumors being put to rest -- one way or another. The company is also scheduled to report its fiscal second-quarter earnings on Thursday afternoon at the close of the trading day.

Here's an early look at story in Thursday's paper on what several financial analysts are expecting from the company in terms of layoffs and cost cuts:

Global tech bellwether Microsoft reports its second-quarter earnings Thursday amid persistent chatter and speculation about its cost-cutting plans, including whether the company will announce its first significant layoffs.


In the Puget Sound area, where Microsoft has more than 40,000 full-time employees and thousands more working on contract, a major layoff could deliver another blow after unemployment climbed to 6.1 percent in December (not adjusted for seasonal changes), the highest level since November 2003.

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January 21, 2009 8:36 PM

Microsoft job cuts since 1996

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

With the prospect of a significant job cut at Microsoft looming Thursday, we took a moment to review the occasions over the past decade or so when the company has trimmed jobs through reorganizations and other changes. While sifting through these numbers, remember that during the same period -- 1996 to 2008 -- Microsoft has grown total worldwide employment more than 340 percent from 20,561 to 91,259 as of June 30. The hiring continued through the latter half of 2008, albeit at a slower rate. As of November, Microsoft counted 95,664 employees globally.

June 2006: 148 positions in the U.S. sales group, including 98 in Redmond, were cut to "better align a small subset of field and headquarter positions more closely with the needs of our enterprise customers and partners."

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January 16, 2009 9:13 AM

Organizational shift puts Microsoft Live Mesh in Windows Live group

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Microsoft is doing some organizational shifting inside the Windows and Windows Live groups. Live Mesh, a new service that synchronizes devices and information, has moved from Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie's organization to the Windows and Windows Live engineering group headed by Steven Sinofsky. Mary Jo Foley first reported the move this morning, which follows information we reported Thursday that some Microsoft employees were bracing for possible organizational changes.

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January 15, 2009 5:06 PM

All Quiet on the Redmond Front

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Not a peep out of Microsoft, officially or otherwise, on potential organization changes some employees had expected to hear about today. Given the volume of rumors, speculation and uncertainty on this subject, it will almost certainly come up when the company reports its second-quarter earnings a week from today.

Meanwhile, we're keeping our eyes peeled and would, as always, welcome tips. My contact information is at the top of the page.

Update, Friday: A minor organizational shift in the Windows Live Engineering group emerged Friday.

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January 15, 2009 11:27 AM

Local analyst sees job cuts of 6 to 8 percent at Microsoft, lowers earnings estimate

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

With Microsoft's fiscal second-quarter earnings a week away, analysts are chiming in with their expectations. In a report to investors this morning, Sid Parakh of McAdams Wright Ragen writes: "[C]hecks indicate that Microsoft is likely to reduce headcount in the near-term to the tune of 6,000 - 8,000 employees, or 6% - 8% of its ~95,000 employee workforce. Underperforming employees are the most likely targets in the expected reorganization."

That follows a Wall Street Journal report that Microsoft is "seriously exploring significant work force reductions" to be announced perhaps during earnings, and our story today, reporting that at least some Microsoft employees are bracing for a reorganization announcement today.

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January 14, 2009 10:04 PM

Some at Microsoft bracing for possible reorganization announcement Thursday

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

An early look at a story in Thursday's paper: Some Microsoft employees were bracing for news of a possible reorganization that could be communicated internally Thursday. A Microsoft spokesman declined to comment, consistent with the company's handling of persistent rumors swirling around plans for cutting costs to account for deteriorating economic conditions.

[Update, Friday: A minor organizational shift in the Windows Live Engineering group emerged Friday.]

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September 25, 2008 2:06 PM

Microsoft tweaks executive compensation, amends bylaws

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Microsoft executives will share in a new compensation plan worth up to $238 million $94.2 million, based on the company's forecast for fiscal year 2009 revenue operating income.

The new plan, announced this afternoon in a filing with the SEC, replaces the existing annual cash bonus and equity award programs for the company's executive officers beginning with fiscal year 2009.

More details, from the filing: The Compensation Committee of Microsoft's board of directors can establish award programs linked to "performance periods" of "one or more fiscal years." Participating executive officers get a fixed share of an "incentive pool." For fiscal year 2009, which began July 1, "awards will be granted from an incentive pool with maximum funding of 0.35 percent of Microsoft's fiscal year 2009 corporate operating income."

Based on Microsoft's forecasts for fiscal year 2009 revenue, that pool would have between $235.6 million and $238.4 million, by my calculations. Based on Microsoft's forecasts for fiscal year 2009 operating income, that pool would have between $92.1 million and $94.2 million.

More details:

"Awards may be further reduced or eliminated in the discretion of the Compensation Committee (or in the discretion of the Board of directors, for awards to the Company's chief executive officer, Steven A. Ballmer). The Plan specifies a maximum amount of $20,000,000 that may be paid under the Plan to a participating executive officer for one or more performance periods that end during a fiscal year. Award amounts under the Plan may be made in either or both stock awards issued under the Microsoft Corporation 2001 Stock Plan and cash. Vesting of stock awards will be determined by the Compensation Committee. The 2001 Stock Plan generally requires that stock awards vest over at least a three-year period."

I'm checking on how many executives this applies to. A past Microsoft executive compensation plan, outlined in 2006, went to the most senior 1.3 percent of the company, or about 900 people. The award under that plan was 37 million shares of company stock over three years.

(Update, 6:20 p.m.: The new plan applies to the company's eleven most senior employees:

-- Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer, (although given his large ownership of Microsoft stock, Ballmer does not receive equity compensation).

-- Ray Ozzie, chief software architect.
-- Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer.
-- Chris Liddell, chief financial officer.
-- Kevin Turner, chief operating officer.
-- Brad Smith, general counsel.
-- Lisa Brummel, senior vice president, human resources.
-- Robbie Bach, president, Entertainment and Devices Division.
-- Stephen Elop, president, Microsoft Business Division.
-- Bob Muglia, senior vice president, Server and Tools business. (Note, my earlier report omitted this name.)
-- The yet-to-be named president of the Platforms and Services Division is the eleventh plan participant.

More information on the group is available here).


At the same time, Microsoft amended its corporate bylaws, primarily relating "to the requirements for advance notice and additional information that a shareholder must provide when making a director nomination or proposal at the Company's annual meeting of shareholders."

I'll update later with more on the new compensation plan and bylaws changes.

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September 8, 2008 1:30 PM

Microsoft's new vision: A little wordier than the old one

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner, on stage this afternoon in Bellevue at an event to build buzz around its virtualization software, gave a broad introduction to the company. One thing that caught my attention: He said the company's vision has changed. It used to be some variation of "a computer on every desk" -- the original goal Paul Allen and Bill Gates set out some three decades ago.

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July 30, 2008 7:01 PM

New Microsoft exec heading education efforts

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Microsoft has created a new corporate vice president position overseeing its education products. L. Michael Golden, most recently a senior vice president at education services company Pearson School, is filling the role, a spokeswoman said in an email.

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July 25, 2008 11:36 AM

Microsoft's Kevin Johnson resigned

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

When news that Microsoft Platforms and Services Division President Kevin Johnson was leaving the company broke Wednesday afternoon, it wasn't clear whether he was quitting or was fired. A regulatory filing today clears that up.

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July 24, 2008 2:22 PM

FAM: What about the reorg?

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

I was expecting more discussion at today's Financial Analyst Meeting of the significant reorganization of the company announced late Wednesday afternoon. It could be further evidence that Kevin Johnson's departure for Juniper Networks caught Microsoft by surprise.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made little reference to the change, which split the giant Platforms and Services Division into two groups, one focused on Windows/Windows Live and the other on Online Services. Ballmer is taking direct oversight of both groups.

He's due on stage again for a Q&A with analysts later this afternoon, so it may come up.

Here's what he said this morning, introducing the section of his talk focusing on the online business and Internet search in particular:

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July 24, 2008 8:40 AM

Confirmed: Microsoft's Johnson to Juniper Networks

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Network equipment maker Juniper Networks this morning confirmed that Kevin Johnson, 47, the former president of Microsoft's huge Platforms and Services Division, will be its new chief executive officer, beginning in September.

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July 23, 2008 4:04 PM

Microsoft President Kevin Johnson departing

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano


Steve Ringman/THE SEATTLE TIMES

Kevin Johnson, president of Microsoft's huge Platforms and Services Division, is leaving the company, reportedly to head Juniper Networks. Microsoft is splitting the division into two groups, both of which will report to CEO Steve Ballmer.


The Wall Street Journal just posted a story citing unnamed sources who say Kevin Johnson, president of Microsoft's huge Platforms and Services Division, is leaving the company to run Juniper Networks. I've asked Microsoft representatives for confirmation, but have not heard back yet.

Update, 4:25 p.m.: Microsoft just confirmed Johnson's departure and announced a major reorganization of his division.

The Platforms and Services Division, which has more than 14,000 employees and is responsible for Windows, and the company's growing suite of online services -- including Internet search -- will be divided in to two groups, both reporting directly to CEO Steve Ballmer.

Update, 4:33 p.m.: The groups will be Windows/Windows Live and Online Services, according to a company statement.

"Effective immediately, senior vice presidents Steven Sinofsky, Jon DeVaan and Bill Veghte will report directly to Ballmer to lead Windows/Windows Live," the statement continued.

The company will search for a leader to fill a new position atop the Online Services group.

"In the Online Services Business, Microsoft will create a new senior lead position and will conduct a search that will span internal and external candidates. In the meantime, Senior Vice President Satya Nadella will continue to lead Microsoft's search, MSN and ad platform engineering efforts," the company said.

Johnson was one of three Microsoft division presidents. He took over the division in September 2005. Johnson led Microsoft's largest acquisition to date, Seattle-based aQuantive, and would have been in charge of incorporating Yahoo into his division.

According to his Microsoft biography, Johnson has been with the company since 1992, holding positions including group vice president of worldwide sales.

Update, 6:14 p.m.: Ballmer sent an e-mail to employees this afternoon laying out his priorities for the current year and explaining Johnson's departure and the reorganization. Read it here.

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June 24, 2008 11:06 AM

Microsoft names insider as new interactive entertainment marketing chief

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Twelve days after announcing the departure of Jeff Bell, the former Chrysler Group marketer, Microsoft has chosen an insider to head the global marketing effort for its Interactive Entertainment Business, which includes the Xbox 360. Michael Delman, who joined Microsoft in 1990 as communications director, takes on the new job in August.

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May 13, 2008 5:22 PM

A conversation with Stephen Elop, new president of Microsoft Business Division

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano


ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Elop, the new president of the Microsoft Business Division, said one of his biggest surprises since joining the company is "the extent of innovation."

Now that Jeff Raikes' move to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been made public, the man replacing him as president of the $16.4 billion-a-year Microsoft Business Division is making the rounds.

Stephen Elop, 44, took the job in January. Here's a brief profile of Elop we ran at the time. On Tuesday, Elop sat down to talk about how he's settling in, impressions of Microsoft and the challenges facing his part of the company.

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May 6, 2008 1:09 PM

New CEO at Microsoft's consulting joint venture, Avanade

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Beginning Sept. 1, Adam Warby, will become the second CEO of Avanade, an 8-year-old Seattle-based IT consulting company founded by Microsoft and Accenture. Warby, who has served as executive vice president of sales and marketing, and general manager of the company's European and Americas markets, will replace Mitch Hill, who has led the company since the beginning, Avanade announced today.

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April 14, 2008 4:23 PM

Microsoft Unlimited Potential Group gets new leader; veteran Poole to retire

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano


Will Poole, Windows veteran, to retire from Microsoft.

Microsoft confirmed rumors reported today that the Unlimited Potential Group -- assigned to develop and market Microsoft products for people in emerging economies -- is being reorganized. Will Poole, a veteran leader who previously ran the Windows Client business, is leaving his post as co-leader of Unlimited Potential and retiring from the company this fall "to pursue philanthropic and entrepreneurial interests," Microsoft said in a statement.

Updated after the jump.

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February 14, 2008 3:25 PM

Microsoft reorg means 14 promotions

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

It's official. Microsoft is shuffling the deck -- again. It's all described here.

The short version, starting with the exits:

-- Steve Berkowitz, the former CEO of Ask.com, "will step down as senior vice president of the Online Services Group. He will remain with the company, focusing on a smooth transition of the business, until the end of August 2008."

-- Michael Sievert, "has decided to leave Microsoft to pursue new endeavors," and will be replaced as head of Windows marketing, by Brad Brooks, who gains the title corporate vice president, Windows Consumer Product Marketing.

-- As reported earlier, Pieter Knook, head of Windows Mobile, is heading to Vodafone. His replacement, as reported earlier, is Andrew Lees, formerly head of marketing for the Server and Tools business.

More to come.

Update, 3:57: A Microsoft spokesman said the company is not commenting on the changes beyond what's in the press release. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is quoted therein:

"Along with attracting world-class talent from outside the company, one of my top priorities is growing Microsoft's existing leadership team. Each of these executives will play a critical role in leading Microsoft into the future. Today's promotions are a result of their ability to think strategically on a global scale, the respect they've earned from their peers, customers and partners, and their significant contributions to the company."

The new senior vice presidents, followed by their groups and responsibilities, with new or expanded responsibilities in bold:

-- Satya Nadella, Search, Portals & Advertising Group. Engineering across Live Search, Microsoft adCenter, and Subscriptions, Points and Billing platforms. Responsibility for MSN programming and engineering.


-- Bill Veghte, Online Services & Windows Business Group. All end-user business strategy, sales and marketing across Windows Client, Windows Live, MSN and Search, plus shared responsibility for OEM sales.

-- Chris Capossela, Information Worker Product Management Group. Office, unified communications and collaboration, business intelligence and enterprise content management.

-- Kurt DelBene, Office Business Platform Group. Platform products for collaboration, information sharing and business applications.

-- Antoine Leblond, Office Productivity Applications Group. Design, development and testing of Office.

-- Andy Lees, as noted above, Mobile Communications Business. Development, marketing and sales of software and services for mobile devices.

-- S. Somasegar, Developer Division. Developer-related languages, tools and platforms, development centers in India and Canada.

Update, 4:15: But wait, there's even more.

The following executives got the corporate vice president title (anyone else flashing back to their Boy Scout awards ceremony?). Most were previously general managers:


-- Walid Abu-Hadba, Developer and Platform Evangelism Group. Platform strategy and evangelism of developers, IT professionals and partners worldwide. This post was recently vacated by Sanjay Parthasarathy, according to Mary Jo Foley. Not clear where he's ending up.


-- Larry Cohen, Corporate Communications. Public relations, executive communications and employee communications.

-- Steve Guggenheimer, Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Division. Manages relationships PC and device makers.

-- Scott Guthrie, .NET Developer Platform. Visual Studio developer tools and Microsoft .NET Framework for building client and Web applications.

-- Roz Ho, Premium Mobile Offerings. New Danger Inc. team and "continue to focus on various consumer-focused premium mobile offerings in mobile communications."

-- Brian Tobey, Entertainment and Devices Division manufacturing and operations. Global manufacturing, supply chain and IT functions within E&D.

Update 4:30: I added links to the Microsoft bio pages of most of the executives affected.

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February 14, 2008 6:28 AM

Microsoft's Knook, mobile division head, to Vodafone; more reorg happening today

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Vodafone, the global mobile communications group, announced this morning it has hired Pieter Knook, Microsoft's top mobile executive, to head a new group focused on the "development and delivery of Vodafone's current and future consumer propositions for the Internet."


MICROSOFT

Knook, formerly senior vice president of Microsoft's Mobile Communications Business, is joining Vodafone.

Knook, 49, joined Microsoft in 1990 and for the past five years has been senior vice president of the Mobile Communications Business, in charge of "development, marketing and sales of software that powers mobile phones and personal digital assistants" and "coordinating the overall mobile communications strategy across Microsoft." Here's his Microsoft bio.

Vodafone, in a news release, said Knook will be director of a new Internet services group seeking to develop "distinctive consumer Web services such as IP communications, mobile Internet access and selected content categories, through mobile devices." Knook, who will begin March 10, has the responsibility of "delivering new revenue growth around Internet, content and advertising."

A reorganization in Microsoft's Online Services Business is rumored to be on the way today, but I had seen no indication that change was afoot in Windows Mobile.


MICROSOFT

Lees is reportedly replacing Knook.

The Wall Street Journal was tipped off and has a story this morning, saying Andrew Lees, Microsoft corporate vice president for marketing server and tools. Coincidentally, Lees joined Microsoft in 1990, the same year as Knook. Lees reported to Bob Muglia, senior vice president in that business, which has an important launch coming up at the end of this month -- probably the biggest new product release of the year for Microsoft. The company is set to release the latest versions Windows Server, SQL Server and Visual Studio.

Microsoft's mobile efforts are within the Entertainment and Devices Division, led by Robbie Bach, who said last summer that more than 20 million Windows Mobile devices would be sold in the company's 2008 fiscal year, which ends June 30.

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February 13, 2008 5:30 PM

Mary Jo Foley: Valentine's reorg coming to Microsoft Online Services?

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

She's been right before, so when Mary Jo Foley's sources say a reorg is coming at Microsoft, listen up.

Foley caught wind of this at least more than a week ago. From the outlines she's reporting, the reorg, among other things, would consolidate more of the online services business under Satya Nadella, who has been in his new post for only 11 months.

Nadella came over from the business division to head research and development for a new group combining both Internet search and the advertising platform. His star seems to be rising, even if search still isn't faring all that well. I've heard from people in his organization that he's gained the respect of the engineers.

Changes also coming in Windows marketing, Foley reports, with Mike Sievert taking a bow.

What do you get for your valentine when he or she has just been ousted? Someone should start a Yahoo group for sweethearts of recently "impacted" tech workers. To be clear, however, there's no indication that the Microsoft Online Services reorg would involve the kind of wholesale job cuts that came down at Yahoo.

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