Microsoft Retools Windows Division

Microsoft is reorganizing its Windows operating system group to form a new group called Windows Core Operating System Division (COSD) within its platform group, a shift that could herald how the next version of the most popular operating system in the world is developed.

A spokesman confirmed the change Monday, saying Brian Valentine, a Microsoft senior vice president, is slated to take the reins of future improvements to the Windows operating system, which is used by more than 90 percent of computer users around the world. The details were first circulated in an internal memo from Jim Allchin, vice president of Microsoft’s platforms group.

According to the memo, COSD will have responsibility for a wide range of OS improvements and
testing, as well as stewardship over the core OS platform; the new
division will garner input from end users as well as market conditions
to shape the Windows environment going forward.

Joe Wilcox, an analyst at Jupiter Research (whose parent company also owns this publication), said the alignment is needed as the company expands the Windows OS outside the end user environment and into the business world.

Microsoft is building out both its Windows Server product lines as well as developing the next-generation consumer OS, code-named Longhorn. New features like WinFS, WinFX and XMAL will have different developer tool requirements, depending on whether its used in the consumer, or business, world.

“Under the old alignment, functions were more with the desktop side even though you had features that were used by the server,” he said. “So now you have the core OS separated out, you have a clean line of authority under Brian Valentine, and (programmers) can focus on the development of those features that will be used by the two different product sides of Windows.”

According to a spokesman for Microsoft, the division is “creating a center of gravity for advancing engineering excellence within Windows.”

Three departments have been created to assist Valentine in the overall
direction of COSD: Testing, Program Management and OS Development.

The Microsoft spokesman said COSD is expected to provide leadership in engineering excellence across the company, and specifically will have responsibility for the core OS platform, including development, program management and test.

With this realignment, key aspects of engineering excellence — customer and market requirements, architecture and technology, processes and tools will be unified within a single division reporting to Senior Vice President Brian Valentine, according to a memo circulated with company officials Monday.

Others taking on roles in the COSD, in addition to Brian Valentine, are Chris Jones, Corporate VP for Core OS Program Management; Amitabh Srivastava, Corporate VP for Core OS Development, and Darren Muir, General Manager of Core OS Test, the official said.

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