Feeds

Ballmer takes charge of MS Phone biz

Hear the klaxon and tremble

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Not all Microsoft reshuffles merit a press release, but the latest game of musical chairs at Redmond has one very newsworthy result. Steve Ballmer has taken personal charge of Microsoft's troubled phone and handheld efforts. The chief executive klaxon will now look after the Microsoft wireless and mobile computing division, which previously reported to Bob Muglia.

Taking personal charge means a couple of things: firstly that Microsoft recognizes the importance of wireless. Well, that's obvious enough, but if that's all there was to it then Ballmer would have spun the division into its own veep-dom, much like Brian Valentine's Windows division. The more important message is that he can't trust the job to his existing subordinates, and wants to thump heads.

And the two heads anxiously looking for protective wrapping belong to Ben Waldman and Juha Christensen. A Microsoft spokesman confirmed today that both Veeps keep their existing job titles, but simply report directly to Ballmer.

The PDA portion of this division has been going great guns, particularly in the US, with PocketPCs eating into Palm's market share. But the phone side, which will dwarf PDAs in terms of volume, has struggled to make inroads with the major handset manufacturers. None of the major players, Nokia, Ericsson/Sony or Motorola, has licensed the Smartphone platform Stinger. And The Beast has even seen key wireless alliances fade, most notably its joint venture with Ericsson.

And Ballmer has in the past month seen a powerful and co-ordinated challange emerge from Nokia to license its middleware and key applications under the banner OMA, or Open Mobile Architecture. There's little question that Nokia is firmly in the driving seat right now. And for all the heat about .NET, wireless developers are almost exclusively using Java, a fact recognised by Microsoft licensee Sendo, which has sourced its own MIDP-compatible VM for its Stinger smartphone.

In the summer, we recommended that Microsoft spin-off its troubled smartphone efforts into a semi-independent division, much in the way that the Xbox games console was given operational autonomy. Ballmer will be able to decide for himself soon enough whether such a drastic step is required.

We only hope Steve doesn't take personal charge of testing the handsets, as most users are less defeaning than Ballmer and he could play havoc with the speaker calibration.

As the other highlight of the reshuffle, Muglia sees his .NET Services job go to David Cole, formerly senior VP of the services platform division, and Muglia gets SQL Server as a consolation prize.

Don't look to the official leadership list on the Microsoft website; at press time today it still lists Bill Neukom as Legal Affairs VP. ®

Related Stories

Can Club Nokia thwart .NET?
Ericssony hangs up on Microsoft?
Stinger - the sneak preview
The Reg Smartphone Roundup - The Verdict Is In

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
'Kim Kardashian snaps naked selfies with a BLACKBERRY'. *Twitterati gasps*
More alleged private, nude celeb pics appear online
Wanna keep your data for 1,000 YEARS? No? Hard luck, HDS wants you to anyway
Combine Blu-ray and M-DISC and you get this monster
US boffins demo 'twisted radio' mux
OAM takes wireless signals to 32 Gbps
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Apple flops out 2FA for iCloud in bid to stop future nude selfie leaks
Millions of 4chan users howl with laughter as Cupertino slams stable door
Students playing with impressive racks? Yes, it's cluster comp time
The most comprehensive coverage the world has ever seen. Ever
Run little spreadsheet, run! IBM's Watson is coming to gobble you up
Big Blue's big super's big appetite for big data in big clouds for big analytics
Seagate's triple-headed Cerberus could SAVE the DISK WORLD
... and possibly bring us even more HAMR time. Yay!
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.