Comings & Goings: Microsoft Makes Some Roster Changes with Arrival of Satya Nadella as CEO

By Steve Anderson March 31, 2014

Microsoft's long strange trip for a new CEO has finally concluded, and already, the new CEO Satya Nadella is starting to shake things up. A new letter out from the CEO spells out some of these early moves, and there are indeed some major points afoot for the near-term future of Microsoft, some better news than others.

Nadella's letter first notes the Build conference coming up for the company in San Francisco, and how some of these changes are structured toward getting ready for that conference. Microsoft as a whole has been making quite a bit of push into what Nadella's letter terms a “mobile-first cloud-first world,” including such moves as Office apps for iOS devices and the Enterprise Mobility Suite, but there are still plenty of moves to be made beyond that. To that end, Nadella made some critical moves within the organization itself in support of that.

The first move was perhaps the most obvious; Nadella announced that Scott Guthrie would go from acting leader of Cloud and Enterprise to executive vice president (EVP), with the intent of keeping him moving the Cloud and Enterprise division along. Guthrie has been with Microsoft since 1997, and has had a hand in many of Microsoft's biggest products from .NET to Microsoft Azure.

The next two announcements weren't related so much to the “mobile-first cloud-first” concept, but were important nonetheless as the announcements focused on devices, particularly the important Xbox line of devices. Nadella turned to Phil Spencer “ take on a new role leading Xbox, combining the Xbox and Xbox Live development teams with the Microsoft Studios team.” Basically, Spencer will now lead Xbox, Xbox Live, Xbox Music, and Xbox Video as well as Microsoft Studios, reporting to Terry Myerson throughout. This puts much of Xbox in Spencer's hands, and he'll have plenty of backup in the form of Yusuf Mehdi, George Peckham and Mike Angiulo.

This brings us to the final announcement, and one that had some gamers concerned. Stephen Elop was put in place as the executive vice president for the Microsoft Devices Group, which not only puts him in on the Nokia Devices and Services employees, but also partially on Xbox. Nadella's letter notes that Elop “...will partner closely with Phil and Terry on Xbox...” as well as work with the Nokia devices and other such hardware.

That may have concerned some users, as Elop was once heard to remark on the possibility of selling off the Xbox division outright, so the thought of someone who believed that its best purpose within the company was something to divest to raise quick cash actually running it with any kind of skill seemed remote at best. But now, thanks to this letter, there's a note of hope. Elop won't really be running Xbox, so much as he'll be part of the action with Spencer and the rest, meaning that Elop can maybe put a few constructive suggestions into play and let everyone else do the heavy lifting while he works with phones and the like, something more familiar from his Nokia days.

Moving Guthrie to EVP, meanwhile, was probably a good idea, and is really rather hard to object to. While the effects of these moves won't be immediately felt, it's still a point worth noting and a point worth watching. The future of Microsoft may well be riding on the backs of these individuals, and only time will tell just how well it works out.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

Contributing TechZone360 Writer

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