Feeds

Microsoft polishes top brass in Ballmer power play

Has anybody seen our CRM software?

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Microsoft has made some executive job changes that signal a major consolidation of power at the top.

The company has named Andy Lees as president of Microsoft's new Mobile Communications Business unit and Don Mattrick as president of the Interactive Entertainment Business unit.

The former will lead Windows Phone 7, due to launch on October 11, in the fight back against Android and the iPhone, and the later will handle Xbox 360. Both will report to Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer.

The duo had worked under entertainment and devices business unit president Robbie Bach, who announced his resignation five months ago amid tumbling mobile market share.

Microsoft also said that it has promoted Kurt DelBene president of the newly created Microsoft Office division.

DelBene was senior vice president of Office engineering inside the Microsoft Business Division - the group that president Stephen Elop quit last month to take up as CEO of Nokia.

Lees, a 20-year Microsoft veteran, and Mattrick, who joined in 2007, already ran their units as senior vice presidents. Nothing has really changed, except the uncertainty over which might lead E&D. Answer: neither. E&D has ceased to exist as a product group.

The description of their responsibilities demonstrates that while they might now be Microsoft presidents, they don't have the broad sweep of power normally associated with that title.

Lees will continue to oversee marketing and product development for mobile while Mattrick will continue to oversee a "wide array of businesses and services focused on consumer entertainment".

Nothing there about running global sales or PNL. These still lay with Ballmer, where they've been since May. This suggests today's promotions are stop gaps until either proves themselves further – or until somebody comes in from outside and E&D is revived as a product unit.

Meanwhile, DelBene does not inherit Elop's kingdom intact. Having come in from Juniper Networks, where he was COO, Elop was president of three global efforts: Microsoft Business Division and oversaw Information Worker (Office and Exchange), Microsoft Business Solutions (Dynamics), and Unified Communications.

DelBene's background is product development and engineering of Office. MBD now longer exists as a product unit and DelBene will just oversee engineering and marketing for Office, Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Project, Visio, and speech. Dynamics, that Microsoft sells against Oracle and Salesforce, has been broken out and now reports directly to Ballmer.

The promotions are interesting for their timing and the choices that have been made. They suggest Microsoft was up against it. Internal promotions are laudable, and to be encouraged. But given these execs' strong experience in certain areas but not others – and the fact they've not been given complete responsibility – suggests Microsoft was unable or unwilling to find the right person from outside the company.

With Bach heading for the escape pod in May, Microsoft had nobody in official, full-time control of its phone or gaming strategies against Google, Apple, Sony, and Nindendo. Nobody likes drift, least of all investors.

All of which must make Steve Ballmer the hardest working and worst paid CEO of a top tech company. If Ballmer is running the global business side of Windows Phone 7, Xbox 360, Office, and the fight against Oracle and Salesforce, then it's miserable timing indeed that he got a reduced annual bonus of "just" $670,000 - equal to his annual salary.

He should have seized the opportunity and jumped to Hewlett-Packard, where apparently anybody can get $4m just to sign on as CEO, regardless of their lack of experience. Ballmer could also have doubled his Microsoft salary to $1.2m. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Bladerunner sequel might actually be good. Harrison Ford is in it
Go ahead, you're all clear, kid... Sorry, wrong film
Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix
Everyone else in Europe compensates us - why can't you?
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then
It CANNA do it, captain.They DON'T have the POWER!
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
Forget Hillary, HP's ex CARLY FIORINA 'wants to be next US Prez'
Former CEO has political ambitions again, according to Washington DC sources
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.