March 22, 2006 7:56 AM PST

Microsoft to shake up Windows leadership

Microsoft is planning a management shake-up in its Windows division and will appoint Steve Sinofsky, currently head of the company's Office division, to oversee Windows development, according to a source close to the company.

The move, which could come as early as Wednesday, comes in the wake of yet another delay in shipping Vista, the long anticipated update to the client version of Microsoft's Windows operating system.

Sinofsky will head Windows development, reporting to Kevin Johnson, who will continue to lead the the Platform Products and Services division. Johnson's division will include eight new and existing organizations related to Windows and Windows Live, the source said.

Steve Sinofsky Steve Sinofsky

Sinofsky, contacted by CNET News.com, declined to comment. Other Microsoft representatives declined to comment.

News of the management shake-up was first reported by The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, citing sources close to the company.

On Tuesday, Microsoft announced that it delayed the mainstream launch of Vista until next year. Though businesses with volume licensing deals will get the code in November, it won't show up on new PCs and on retail shelves until January.

The Platform Products and Services division, which includes Windows, is currently run by Johnson and Jim Allchin, who last year announced plans to retire at the end of 2006, following the commercial availability of Vista.

Although Allchin has shared leadership of the division, he has shifted most of the management and financial responsibilities to Johnson, focusing largely on technical issues related to Vista.

Allchin's plan has been to retire later this year after Vista was finished. In a conference call on Tuesday, he noted that the technical work for Vista is still on track to be finished this year.

The company has been working for some time on how the technical leadership of Windows would be handled after Allchin's retirement.

Microsoft's Windows division has a history of delays, and management shake-ups to cope with them, said Jupiter Research analyst Michael Gartenberg. When Windows 2000 hit significant snags, Microsoft reassigned Brian Valentine, a product executive, to complete the development cycle, he noted.

"No doubt, I'm sure, the senior executives at Microsoft were pretty upset (with the latest Vista delay)," Gartenberg said. "Steven has a track record of shipping products (and he can) potentially take the reins and get the thing out the door and fix whatever process problems there are."

Sinofsky, who joined Microsoft in 1989 and who has a track record of shipping product updates on time, is a trusted lieutenant of Chairman Bill Gates and CEO Steve Ballmer, Gartenberg said. "Clearly things are not going super well with this project and it looks like it's time to bring a new sheriff to town," he said.

"It was already embarrassing when highly publicized features like WinFS were pulled. It's clear the whole Longhorn vision has been somewhat scaled down. When it ships, they really need to ship another Windows 95, not another Windows ME," Gartenberg said.

Windows 95 was viewed as a major enhancement over existing Windows 3.1 systems, while Windows ME was not stable and was not considered a breakthrough product.

News.com's Mike Ricciuti contributed to this report.

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Jim Allchin, division, leadership, volume-license, delay

7 comments

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what about Brian V?
bring back Brian Boy!I hope he has a major role in continuing to lead devs there.
Posted by solomonster (2 comments )
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Decline To Comment On The Grounds It Might&
In April 2004 lead product manager for Windows at Microsoft, Greg Sullivan, told us the company is clipping features and functionality [from Longhorn] without taking away the core of the improvements it promised, so it can deliver the product in a reasonable time frame.

Among the features and functionality jettisoned was WinFS, the new unified storage system that Gates referred to as a *Holy Grail*. WinFS is one of three core components of Longhorn. The other two , Avalon and Indigo, code names for a presentation subsystem and communication technologies, respectively. The components sit on top of a layer of "fundamentals" that includes security as well as technology designed to ensure applications and drivers do not conflict. EFI support and other functionalities were also dropped along the wayside.

Now, two years later, Redmond decides to slip Longhorn-Vista into 2007 as they rearrange the organizational deck chairs on the SS Longhorn-Vista.

They are two years and multimillions of SLOC too late.

It looks like Steve Sinofsky drew the short straw, but neither he nor any of his Redmond Rascals are talking.

JP B-)
Posted by Catgic (106 comments )
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Yeah, shake everything up.
That'll help the delivery date.

NOT!
Posted by open-mind (1027 comments )
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Message has been deleted.
Posted by open-mind (1027 comments )
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If you want to post ads...
Contact Google, they have great ways to advertise. Otherwise peddle your junk someplace else. I have reported you to cNet as this is the second time you have posted this and probably have done so even more.

Also, don't you think that Windows users really wanted a Mac they would have bought one by now. You only come across looking like a Troll.

Robert
Posted by Heebee Jeebies (632 comments )
Link Flag
The truth about business reorganizations:
"We trained hard - But it seemed that every time we were beginning to form into teams, we would be reorganized. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing; And what a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralization."

Petronius
(1st Century Roman and advisor to Nero)

As this quote shows, this is a time-honored tactic to provide the illusion of progress.
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
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Shake & Bake Mr. Ballsmore
FROM PC WORLD ARTICLE ABOUT MICROSOFT'S EMPLOYEES TURNING ON CEO BALMER BECAUSE OF ANOTHER DELAY IN VISTA OS...

Microsoft employees call for Ballmer to go 10:50AM
Microsoft employees are arguing among themselves over who is to blame for the delay in the launch of Windows Vista. One disgruntled insider named Who da'Punk voiced his feelings in a blog posting under the heading 'Vista 2007. Fire the leadership now!'.
Last week it was announced that Vista would be delayed until November for corporate customers while the consumer versions would not appear until early 2007. There was further bad news for Microsoft customers when the company revealed that the delay in the release of Vista would have a knock on effect on the new version of Office which will also now be pushed back to 2007.

In the posting the anonymous employee complains 'We're missing the holiday sales market. Not only did we miss last year's opportunity, we're missing this year's opportunity, too'. He finally signed off with the call for heads to roll at Microsoft senior management with the comment 'People need to be fired and moved out of Microsoft today. Where's the freakin' accountability?'

The diatribe set off a lot of feeling amongst Microsoft employees with several demanding that Ballmer should head the list of people who should be fired from the company. One remarked: 'Being a 10+ year vet I feel ashamed and sad. This company is a mess on so many levels'.

Even more damning is the comment 'Vista - I wouldn't buy it with someone else's money. Then again what do I know, I've only been testing the dog for the last 2-3 yrs'.

However, the decision to let the Vista date slip does have its supporters within the Windows team. Another reply says 'If you had spent the last 5 years of your life grinding away to get this thing out the door, you would have realised the only thing worse than slipping the date, would have been to lay a turd in August. Those of us in the trenches see exactly what bugs are between us and shipping.'

Although the reasons for the delay are cited as beefing up the security of the product, there are said to be major problems in other areas of the code too - in particular the Media Centre (MCE) is said to be seriously flawed. One comment says 'why exactly IS MCE so bad? Didn't anyone test this puppy before kicking it out the door and having another PM party?'.

The Australian magazineSmarthouse quotes the Marketing Manager of Acer Australia as saying 'The decision to delay Vista into the consumer market will have an impact on hardware sales particularly in the Media Centre market. We have been told that Microsoft has bought in programmers from the Xbox team to work on the problems. We have also been told that up to 60 per cent of the code will have some form of re writing or changes made.' Microsoft has since vehemently denied the story.

While Microsoft struggles to get Vista in shape for its debut, here are already changes afoot at the software giant. Last Thursday, Microsoft undertook a major reshuffle of the flagship Platform Services Division (PSD). The current head of the Windows group Jim Allchin is retiring next year and his key position has been taken over by Steven Sinofsky who until now has been leading Office product development.

Although it is tempting to link the reshuffle to the recent delay in the launch of Vista, the movements in the top jobs have been planned for some time. Nevertheless, the promotion of Sinofsky who is recognised as a tougher manager than Allchin, will be due to his record of getting Office and its related products out on schedule. In contrast, the much delayed Windows Vista will be the first revision of the operating system since the release of Windows XP in 2001 and despite his announced retirement, Jim Allchin will leave as the man who couldn't get the OS out the door on time.

Steve Malone
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
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