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Geek's geek Guthrie heads up Microsoft's mega-billions enterprise software biz

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The chief of Microsoft’s would-be Flash killer Silverlight, who also invented ASP.NET, has taken the top spot at Redmond’s $20bn enterprise and cloud business.

Scott Guthrie has quietly been named acting head of Microsoft’s enterprise and cloud business in the wake of Satya Nadella’s elevation to Microsoft CEO.

Nadella had been executive vice president until Tuesday, when he was named Microsoft chief executive. Guthrie had served under Nadella as Windows Azure corporate vice president.

A Microsoft spokesperson told The Register Guthrie is acting head of the group, but Mary Jo Foley says here that the interim title is a formality and Guthrie’s permanent promotion "is all but assured".

Famously fond of red polo shirts, the soft-spoken Guthrie won’t be known in the world of suit-and-tie systems but he’s a hero among the legions of Windows programmers, where he’s seen very much as one of their own.

The hallmark of his career is building rock-solid tools and frameworks and for building Microsoft's alternative to whatever it is that the opposition is doing for the Microsoft faithful.

He led the team in 1999 that created ASP.NET – Microsoft’s server-side web alternative to JSP.net.

As a developer division corporate vice president, he ran the teams building the .NET Framework, Silverlight, the XAML runtimes for Windows Phone and Windows 8. It was Silverlight, though, that really put him in the spotlight.

Silverlight became Microsoft’s answer to Adobe’s Flash for browser-based media on the web. For a time, Silverlight was hot at Microsoft because it gave the Windows legions an alternative to the hated Flash and Adobe's tools, but Silverlight was later dumped by Microsoft for HTML5.

Since May 2011, Guthrie has lead the Windows Azure application platform team working on the nuts and bolts of Windows Azure and bread-and-butter apps such as BizTalk Server, IIS and the workflow features of Visual Studio.

It fell to Guthrie to make Windows Azure actually usable by Windows devs.

Among other things, Guthrie has spent a lot of time re-configuring the storage system to run virtual machine disks and images, improving both the networking layer and its ability to generally build and deploy apps on Windows Azure using Visual Studio. ®

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