Feeds

Microsoft sharpening axe for marketing heads - report

Hundreds of jobs at stake in cultural revolution, say sources

Application security programs and practises

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.

Application security programs and practises

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330
If the person in front reclines their seat, this could get interesting
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.