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Microsoft rejigger judges Window 7 a success

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Windows 7 is not yet for sale - or even officially finished - but it's already been judged a success. At least, that's what we're lead to believe by Microsoft's latest corporate re-organization.

Senior vice president Steven Sinofsky has been named president of the new Windows division, putting him in charge of the engineering and business for Windows, the Windows Live set of online services, and Microsoft's browser Internet Explorer. Sinofsky had led overall development of Windows 7 as senior vice president of the Windows/Windows Live group.

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer said in a statement that Sinofsky had demonstrated his ability to lead large teams that deliver great products. "The work he and the team have done in getting ready to ship Windows 7 really defines how to develop and ship world-class software," Ballmer said.

The change comes almost a year to the day since Microsoft's last reorganization that saw Sinofsky and two other execs shuffled into the Windows/Windows Live group and reporting directly to Ballmer. That followed the exit of then platform and services division president Kevin Johnson.

Ballmer is clearly satisfied with Sinofsky's work on Windows 7 and the promotion was likely part of an agreement for completing a successful job. Sinofsky came to Windows having delivered different versions of Office on time - and in the wake of the Windows Vista debacle.

Sinofsky has a reputation for running a tightly controlled operation in terms of the information that's shared externally and hitting product milestones. Sometimes too tight: Beta testers on Windows 7 complained Microsoft was hurrying development by triaging bugs and scaling back features. It seemed Microsoft was eager to avoid a repeat of Windows Vista.

Sinofsky had been one of three vice presidents in the former Windows/Windows Live group, along with Bill Veghte on sales and marketing and John DeVaan managing the Windows engineering team. Veghte will move to a leadership role Microsoft plans to announce later this year under this latest reorganization, while DeVaan will stay on engineering and report to Sinofsky.

Sinofsky becomes one of five Microsoft presidents under the last change, joining Stephen Elop, Bob Muglia, Robbia Bach, and Qi Lu of the business division, server and tools, entertainment and devices, and online services, respectively.

Still, it's not entirely clear what happens in the immediate future of Sinofsky's reign.

The latest IE was released in March, and it's too soon in Microsoft's world to talk bout IE 9. Three months from now, Microsoft will wrap Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, and its Azure cloud used by Windows Live.

In the wake of major engineering work and ahead of the next spin up, there will be launch advertising and marketing programs to deliver, and the delivery of patches for operating systems and browsers past and present.

In the long-term, it'll be interesting to see how online services is carved up between the suddenly fast rising Sinofsky and new hire Lu, who leads search and online advertising.®

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