Feeds

Microsoft sharpening axe for marketing heads - report

Hundreds of jobs at stake in cultural revolution, say sources

Top three mobile application threats

Another year and another shake-up is coming to Microsoft. A restructuring of the team responsible for how Redmond is perceived and sells itself will be announced in the next 30 days, Bloomberg reports.

"Hundreds" of staffers in Microsoft's Central Marketing Group (CMG) may find themselves on the business end of an axe wielded by marketing chief Chris Capossela.

Citing unnamed sources, Bloomberg notes:

Changes may include shifting some of the more technical marketing workers to engineering groups, cutting employees who don't have needed skills or whose work is duplicated by other workers, and revamping how marketing groups are organized and where they fit into the rest of the company.

Microsoft, as you'd expect, has refused to comment on the story.

Change is an annual process at Microsoft. Among notable movements in the last decade or so:

  • Steve Ballmer named chief executive in January 2000.
  • Eight years later, the platform and services kingdom belonging to Jim Allchin is broken in two in the wake of the Windows Vista debacle.
  • In 2010, Microsoft shakes up its server and tools business to turn its Windows Azure cloud into a rain-maker while also protecting the Windows Server biz.

The explanation for this latest change is standard boilerplate: to help Microsoft respond to the competition. In this case that includes Apple, Google and Amazon. In the S&T 2010 rejigger it was VMware, Oracle, Linux, Apache, MySQL and Perl, PHP and Python (LAMP).

This time, there's a bigger story, and it's something that hints a broader cultural change inside Microsoft and beyond the usual brass-shifting. That change is "Sinofskyisation".

Windows and Windows Live group vice president Steven Sinofsky is Microsoft's star, tipped by some as a future chief executive. Sinofsky shipped Windows 7 on time, without fuss and minus the kind of post-release fallout that had plagued past Windows chiefs. Before Windows, he also got the Office release train on track.

The source of the magic is considered to be Sinofsky's re-org of the Windows team grouping softies into programming units called the "triads". These cells comprise developer, tester and program manager and are aimed at speeding up and tightening up coding. The triads are important in the context of the forthcoming re-organisation. This is mainly because they favour Microsoft's engineering class and strip out non-programming generalist staff and those people who've tried to "own" products or technology domains – a category of employee inside Microsoft that's traditionally been a general manager or corporate vice president.

Triads have two important attributes: they flatten Microsoft's structure, putting the top – in the case of the Windows group management, Sinofsky – in direct communication with the do-ers and in control of those coding features. This has closed the gap on specification and delivery.

No more meetings about meetings

The Sinofsky process is hard driving: it's cutting out the Microsoft cancer, the culture of meetings about meetings, as meetings are not over until any hard decisions are taken, ending the tantalising temptation to reschedule for some other time.

Chairman Sinofsky has encapsulated his thoughts in a little orange book here.

All this compacting, stripping down and removing of the pure marketing and business layer is starting to have echoes of what Bloomberg is reporting; circumstantially, at least, signs are positive. The server and tools group's corporate vice president in charge of marketing Robert Wahbe has become the latest veteran to depart, Redmond announced this week. Significantly, Wahbe leaves ahead of the big marketing re-org that Bloomberg reports.

"They've been wiping out the VPs – flattening out," a former Microsoft exec gone within the last 12 months tells us on condition of anonymity. That cull is now being extended up to director level execs, he says.

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.