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Rewriting 60% of Vista? Microsoft Says No Way

Microsoft is denying a report that it has begun rewriting its Windows Vista operating system. The report is "speculation with no demonstrable basis in fact," a spokesperson told internetnews.com.

An Australian trade publication, SmartHouse.com, published the report, quoting an unnamed Microsoft source. It said the software maker has pulled employees from its Xbox gaming division to rewrite up to 60 percent of the Vista code slated to be unveiled at the 2007 CES show in Las Vegas.

Microsoft flatly denied the report. The company is working on security, testing and polish -– "not writing new code," according to a spokesperson, who added: Windows Vista is on track for the November launch of the enterprise version and the January 2007 release of the consumer version. "There aren't any Xbox developers moving over to the Windows Vista team."

Robert Scoble, a Microsoft technical evangelist and blogger, denounced the rumor as "totally 100 percent false."

There is no way Microsoft could rewrite 60 percent of the thousands of lines of code in time for the January CES, Scoble said.

The report hit at the end of a week of delay news from Microsoft. It announced it will delay the general launch of Office 2007 to coincide with Vista's new January 2007 date. The business version of Office 2007 is still expected in October.

The denial comes a day after Microsoft announced it was replacing outgoing PSD co-president Jim Allchin and delaying the launch of its new operating system until 2007.

In a memo, "Aligning PSD for Growth and Agility," which internetnews.com obtained independently, Kevin Johnson, co-president of the division, explained the new challenges and goals behind the moves.

A text version follows:

From: Kevin Johnson

Sent: Thursday, March 23, 2006 10:01 AM
To: Platforms & Services Division
Cc: Executive Staff

Subject: Aligning PSD for Growth and Agility

Since taking on my new role last September, I've spent quite a bit of time focused on how best to position the Platforms and Services Division (PSD) for the future. I want to share with you some of that thinking and some new changes we are undertaking today.

We continue to see a strong wave of innovation from Microsoft making its way to market. PSD is a big part of this wave. The recent launches from our Server and Tools business, including SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio 2005, BizTalk 2006 and Windows Server R2, have been well received by customers and partners, and the team is now focused on Longhorn Server. The Windows client team continues to drive forward on Windows Vista with the latest CTP that was released in February. The MSN division continues to deliver new innovation such as Live Mail, Live Messenger, our constantly improving search offerings and many other Windows Live offerings. MSN itself has enabled new channels and content and continues to expand. All of these product and service releases are evidence of a strong wave of innovation and momentum in the market.

Over the last few months, I've made it a priority to listen to what's on people's minds. I have had the opportunity to conduct more than one hundred 1:1's and have met with over 2,000 of you at all-hands meetings and roundtables. Not surprisingly some common themes have emerged. Your questions, concerns and feedback, taken together with the dialogue within our leadership team pointed to the need to address three key questions for our division:

What are the next steps for advancing our vision of software + services? Are there growth opportunities upon which we should be more focused? How can we be more agile?

As our current product pipeline hits the market, it's a good time to lay the foundation for the future of PSD. I have been working with Jim Allchin and other PSD leaders to establish an organization that positions us for the future. This has been a very collaborative process and we have considered many options. The PSD organization changes we are announcing today are driven by the following objectives which are rooted in the input I've received from so many of you:

1. Software + Services: Position for the next wave of innovation relative to our vision for Windows Live. Ray Ozzie and I continue to work closely to advance the Live vision announced last November. End-to-end scenarios that enable seamless experiences across client, server, and services are critical for all customers, and Windows Vista + Windows Live begins to address this vision. Utilizing services as a distribution vehicle for user experiences enables us to embrace the concept of software + service and deliver innovation to market faster. Doing this requires us to think about the Windows Live platform as a key to the value proposition we deliver to developers. These changes provide clear connections with Ray and his team to help shape the Live platform, Live experiences and the marketing that supports Windows Live.

2. Growth: Focus on the key growth opportunities ahead of us, specifically online advertising, emerging markets, and enterprise computing infrastructure. Our Server & Tools business has shown strong growth over the last few years, and has great opportunities to continue that momentum. Windows Client has growth opportunities in premium offerings, new solutions for emerging markets, and in reducing unlicensed PCs. Certainly the upcoming launch of Windows Vista will spark a new wave of growth across our broader industry and partner ecosystem. Analysts predict the online advertising industry will grow to $35B+ by 2008 which creates opportunity for our MSN and Windows Live businesses.

3. Agility: Lay the foundation for accelerating our pace of innovation, including focusing on ways to improve clarity of decision making, drive greater accountability, and reduce layers in the organization so we can move faster. It also means utilizing existing expertise within the division to embrace services -- and rapid release cycles that services can enable -- to all aspects of our business. Our software + service approach and the expertise we have built in MSN can support innovation agility as we enable the Live era.

As part of the next step of Jim's transition, we discussed when it was appropriate to move his direct reports to me, and decided that this organization change was the right time. Jim's overall partnership role with me in running PSD will not be changing.

The PSD leadership team I've put in place to align against these key objectives includes:

  • Steven Sinofsky, SVP Engineering, Windows and Windows Live Group
  • Brian Valentine, SVP COSD
  • Blake Irving, CVP, Windows Live Platform Group
  • David Cole, SVP, Online Business Group
  • Yusuf Mehdi, SVP, Chief Advertising Strategist
  • Mike Sievert, CVP Windows Client Marketing
  • Will Poole, SVP Market Expansion Group
  • Bob Muglia, SVP Server and Tools Business Group
  • Sanjay Parthasarathy, CVP Developer and Platform Evangelism
  • Brent Callinicos, CFO and CVP Finance Group
  • Rick Thompson, CVP supporting a special assignment
  • Darryn Dieken, Technical Assistant
  • Brian "Skip" Schipper, GM Human Resources
  • Mary Snapp, CVP and Deputy General Counsel, Legal and Corporate Affairs

    I know change is never easy but I truly appreciate the focus that people throughout PSD have on innovation and the wave of products and services our team is delivering to the marketplace is impressive. These changes are intended to help us increase our agility, embrace the concept of software + services, and position us for an exciting future together.