Microsoft Pushes Cloud & AI Even Harder

Mitch Wagner
3/29/2018

Microsoft is reorganizing into two main divisions, with one focused on experiences and devices and another on cloud and AI platforms, the company announced Thursday.

Scott Guthrie, currently president of the Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) cloud and enterprise group, will expand responsibilities to head the new Cloud and AI division. And Jason Zander becomes executive vice president for Microsoft Azure, putting him at the top ranks of the company.

As part of the transition, Terry Myerson, executive vice president of he Windows and Devices group, will "pursue his next chapter outside Microsoft" (corporate-speak for "he's outta there"), after 21 years with the company, according to an email from CEO Satya Nadella to Microsoft employees, posted to the Microsoft website.


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Brad Anderson will continue as head of enterprise mobility and management, leading Windows Enterprise deployment and management, "with even tighter alignment across Microsoft 365, partnering closely with the EMS [enterprise mobility and security] teams within Cloud + AI Platform," Nadella says.

Other leadership named in the announcement: Panos Panay becomes chief product officer for Microsoft's first-party devices hardware and software; Joe Belfiore will continue leading Windows; and Kudo Tsunoda will continue to lead new experiences and technology.

Interestingly, the Windows platform team led by Harv Bhela, Henry Sanders and Michael Fortin joins the Azure team headed by Zander, Nadella says. That's a sign of Microsoft's ongoing hybrid cloud strategy; it views Windows, whether on-premises or in the cloud, as part of a unified cloud platform.

"Windows platform is already a core part of Azure across both the cloud and edge, and this shift will enable us to accelerate our efforts to build a unified distributed computing infrastructure and application model," Nadella says.

Cloud has been a growth engine for Microsoft, with commercial cloud revenue hitting $5.3 billion in the quarter reported in January. Azure grew 98% -- the 10th straight quarter of better-than-90% growth for Azure. (See Microsoft's Cloud Bet Keeps Paying Off.)

More details in Nadella's email: "Satya Nadella email to employees: Embracing our future: Intelligent Cloud and Intelligent Edge."

Myerson posted his thoughts on the transition away from Microsoft on LinkedIn: "Thank you for 21 years, and onto the next chapter..."

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Joe Stanganelli
Joe Stanganelli
4/2/2018 | 1:38:54 PM
Re: Cloud out the windows
@Michelle: I've seen research that has found more security bugs in Apple platforms (MacOS, iOS, etc.) than in all Windows platforms.

That said, nothing always works as it should. ;)
Joe Stanganelli
Joe Stanganelli
4/2/2018 | 1:37:40 PM
Re: Cloud out the windows
@Michelle: The whole industry has been disrupting itself. I felt similarly about IBM's announced partnership with Apple a few years ago.
Michelle
Michelle
3/31/2018 | 11:13:15 PM
Re: Cloud out the windows
Deprioritization is going to be the stuff of nightmares, isn't it? I have seen some crazy bad things with Windows OS over the years. I would like to know how a focus on Windows has made some of these terrible bugs and worse operating systems. 
Michelle
Michelle
3/31/2018 | 10:44:36 PM
Re: Cloud out the windows
The deprioritization of Windows doesn't seem like something MSFT would ever do. Imagine reading such a prediction in the mid-90s. They finally got to always-connected machines that dial the mothership regularly.
Joe Stanganelli
Joe Stanganelli
3/31/2018 | 10:11:31 PM
Cloud out the windows
Azure has gotten really close to catching up to AWS in the cloud market, so it's completely understandable that MSFT wants to go nearly all-in here.

The deprioritization of Windows? Huge news...but also a long time coming, unfortunately.
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