New Windows, Platforms Heads at Microsoft

Microsoft restructured its Platforms & Services Division (PSD) today, taking action after announcing that the consumer edition of the Vista operating system would be delayed until 2007.

The new PSD organization includes eight groups led by PSD Co-President Kevin Johnson and Co-President Jim Allchin, who will retire next year.

PSD includes three new groups: Windows Live Platform Group; Online Business Group; and Market Expansion Group, according to a Microsoft statement.

As previously reported, Microsoft veteran Steven Sinofsky will assume control of creating Windows products, as senior vice president of Windows and Windows Live Group

Sinofsky comes with a reputation for bringing large Microsoft Office projects to fruition. He is credited with leading the design of the shared technologies in Microsoft Office 95 and Microsoft Office 97, as well as the evolution of Office from suite to system.

Sinofsky will work closely with Microsoft CTO Ray Ozzie and Blake Irving to support Microsoft’s services strategy across the division and company, Microsoft said in a statement.

While many experts have speculated that the changes were triggered by the Vista delay, Jupiter Research* analyst Joe Wilcox said that the timing of the delay and restructuring is coincidental.

“There were too many changes for them all to be directly related to the Windows Vista delay,” Wilcox said. “I think these changes were in the works regardless of what happened.”

Johnson said in the statement Microsoft is making the changes to improve and accelerate Windows and MSN development; bring Windows Live technologies to market; and buoy Microsoft’s move into online advertising, where Google and Yahoo loom large.

Windows Live is Microsoft’s push to deliver customers services through the Web browser.

“Expanding the capabilities of our Windows Live platform, extending our reach and impact with and to advertisers, continuing to enhance our search offering, and building out our operational infrastructure are critical to our long-term success,” Johnson said.

Senior Vice President Brian Valentine will continue to lead the Core Operating System Division (COSD) responsible for getting the oft-delayed Vista to market on time. Allchin will work closely with Valentine to deliver Windows Vista later this year until he retires in 2007.

Blake Irving, corporate vice president, will helm the new Windows Live Platform Group, which unites MSN teams that have been building platform services for Microsoft’s online offerings.

This group provides the infrastructure services, platform tools and support for services being created in Windows Live and Office Live.

David Cole, senior vice president, will preside over the new Online Business Group, which includes advertising sales, business development and marketing for Live Platforms, Windows Live and MSN. Cole will lead this group until his successor is named before his leave of absence at the end of April.

Will Poole, senior vice president, will lead the Market Expansion Group, a newly created group focused on emerging markets and new form factors. Products in this group include Windows XP Starter Edition and the recently launched Ultra-Mobile PC devices, code-named Origami.

In other changes, Yusuf Mehdi, senior vice president, is taking on a new assignment as chief advertising strategist reporting directly to Johnson. Mehdi will help shape Microsoft’s online advertising strategy.

Martin Taylor, corporate vice president, will move from the Server and Tools Business to lead Windows Live and MSN Marketing. Taylor will run product management and marketing for Windows Live services, and the company’s Live Platforms.

Mike Nash, who helms security for the Windows operating system, will transition from his job to lead the Security Technology Unit. He will eventually take on a yet to be announced role at Microsoft,

Ben Fathi will succeed Nash.

Mike Sievert, Sanjay Parthasarathy, and Bob Muglia will continue leading the Windows Client Marketing Group, Developer and Platform Evangelism Group, and the Server and Tools Business Group, respectively.

*Jupiter Research is owned by the same company as

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