Microsoft CEO unveils major staffing restructure

Microsoft sign outside glass building

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has outlined his vision for the firm and confirmed a major restructure will take place as it looks to remain competitive in an ever changing market.

In a 2,600 word memo, Ballmer claimed that Microsoft will continued to change the world, but that it must "improve in all aspects of the business".

"Going forward, our strategy will focus on creating a family of devices and services for individuals and businesses that empower people around the globe at home, at work and on the go, for the activities they value most," he noted.

"We are rallying behind a single strategy as one company not a collection of divisional strategies. Although we will deliver multiple devices and services to execute and monetise the strategy, the single core strategy will drive us to set shared goals for everything we do. We will see our product line holistically, not as a set of islands."

Ballmer also suggested he wants to take a more hands-on roll, with the heads of divisions set to report directly to him.

"Each major initiative will have a champion who will be a direct report to me or one of my direct reports. The champion will organise to drive a cross-company team for success, but my whole staff will have commitment to the initiative's success" he said.

In terms of restructuring itself, a number of Microsoft executives have been promoted internally as predicted earlier this week. A handful have retained their positions and there is one high-profile casualty.

Operating Systems Engineering Group: Terry Myerson has been promoted from head of the Windows Phone division. He will oversee work on operating systems spanning across consoles, mobile devices, PCs and back-end systems. Core cloud services for the operating system (presumably SkyDrive) will also fit under his remit.

Devices and Studios Engineering Group: Julie Larson-Green is now in charge of all hardware development and supply chain from phones and tablets thorugh to PCs and Xbox. She will also be responsible for Microsoft's studios offerings including games, music, video and other entertainment.

Applications and Services Engineering Group: Qi Lu will lead broad applications and services core technologies in productivity, communication, search and other information categories.

Advanced Strategy and Research Group: Eric Rudder will head up "Research Trustworthy Computing" teams focused on the intersection of technology and policy. He will also be tasked with looking into "key new technology trends" Microsoft can leverage.

Business Development and Evangelism Group: Tony Bates, former president of Skype will now focus on key partnerships with OEMs, silicon vendors, key developers as well as third parties such as Yahoo and Nokia. He was also expected to oversee Microsoft's corporate strategy and be involved in mergers and acquisitions going forward, but there was no mention of this.

The most high-profile casualty is Kurt DelBene, president of Office who will now be retiring after over two decades of service.

"Kurt has been a huge part of our success in evolving Office to be a great cloud service, and is a key member of my leadership team. I can't express enough gratitude for the work he's done for the company, and I will truly miss him. Kurt is a truly amazing leader and a special person. His contributions to Microsoft over 20+ years can inspire us all," Ballmer noted.

Meanwhile, Craig Mundie has been tasked with working on a "special project" for the CEO until the end of the year. At the start of 2014 Mundie will continue as a consultant until his pre-arranged departure at the end of the next calendar year.

The handful of senior executives who survived the axe include CMO Tami Reller, COO Kevin Turner and head of the Dynamics division, Kirill Tatarinov. Brad Smith has also been retained as General Counsel.

It remains to be seen whether these changes will help Microsoft drive forward in an era where it has been playing catch-up to the likes of Apple and Google.

Ballmer noted that although there is lots of change "many key things [remain] the same", so only time will tell.

Khidr Suleman is the Technical Editor at IT Pro, a role he has fulfilled since March 2012. He is responsible for the reviews section on the site  - so get in touch if you have a product you think might be of interest to the business world. He also covers the hardware and operating systems beats. Prior to joining IT Pro, Khidr worked as a reporter at Incisive Media. He studied law at the University of Reading and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism and Online Writing at PMA Training.