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MS reorg focuses on Windows, Apple rivalry

updated 10:20 am EDT, Thu July 24, 2008

MS Reorg and Windows

Microsoft on Thursday said it was undertaking a major restructuring of the company that will help it return focus to its core Windows software. The company's broader Platforms & Services division will now be split into a dedicated Windows & Windows Live division and a separate Online Services division, both of which will report directly to company chief Steve Ballmer. The effort is publicly described as making Microsoft more nimble and should help the company move more quickly fight off rivals in the "very competitive arenas" of operating systems and the web, according to Ballmer.

Additionally, the former head of the division, Kevin Johnson, is voluntarily leaving the company to become CEO at Juniper Networks. The reasons behind the departure are unclear, although Johnson was one of the chief architects of the since-failed takeover of Yahoo meant to fast-track a climb in market share for both the search and web advertising businesses at Microsoft.

Privately, however, the company is returning much of its attention to Windows, according to a leaked company-wide memo obtained by Kara Swisher of All Things Digital. Ballmer tells staff that Windows is again the company's "number one job" and reiterates the company's plans to repair Vista's damaged image through an advertising campaign taking place over the course of the next few weeks.

The executive also singles out Apple as a primary focus of the Windows team, noting that it has to work more closely with hardware makers. Both the desktop operating system as well as Windows Mobile provide a choice of hardware but aren't as tightly integrated as Mac OS X or iPhone and suffer for this, Ballmer says in a rare direct comparison of the two companies' overall strategies.

"In the competition between PCs and Macs, we outsell Apple 30-to-1," he says. "But there is no doubt that Apple is thriving. Why? Because they are good at providing an experience that is narrow but complete, while our commitment to choice often comes with some compromises to the end-to-end experience. Today, we're changing the way we work with hardware vendors to ensure that we can provide complete experiences with absolutely no compromises. We'll do the same with phones--providing choice as we work to create great end-to-end experiences."

Microsoft also plans to improve PCs' experiences with cloud computing, or the integration of PCs with Internet platforms, as well as to wage a "long-term battle" in search versus Google.

Ballmer further argues that the company's future isn't dependent on making a deal for some or all of Yahoo. The buyout attempt "was a tactic, not a strategy," he claims.

by MacNN Staff



  1. scotte75ky

    Joined: Dec 1969



    MS is starting to piss it's panties!!

  1. RKDinOKC

    Joined: Dec 1969



    So, in order to keep the Mac down, Entourage will NOT ever interact with Exchange properly, ie., Tasks, Notes, Public Folders.

  1. jpellino

    Joined: Dec 1969


    hit the nail on the head

    now he'll take his trusty hammer and bang away at load bearing timbers. typical MS. they need to create one gold standard of experience and clone it throughout their product line. like apple did. we have a local weekly radio call-in show - "computer talk" - and it's essentially 2 hours of "can you fix what went wrong with my windows machine in a dialect I can understand?".

  1. resuna

    Joined: Dec 1969


    30 to 1?

    If Apple's market share is 8.5%, didn't he misspell 12 as 30?

  1. WiseWeasel

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Great Start

    Now they just need to put someone in charge of development that actually knows what they're doing, and start catering to end users rather than corporate IT departments and OEMs. This means removing all the c*** that gets in the user's way of using MS products, including Windows Genuine (dis)Advantage, UAC, and Microsoft's disdain for cross-platform standards and formats. There's a world of other developers out there that MS must learn to play nice with if it's to stay relevant.

  1. jimothy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Give up search

    Microsoft, as much as I love to watch you founder, give up search. Forget Yahoo (as most search users already have). You're obsession with Google is what lead you to this problem in the first place.

    People keep saying, "The rise of the Internet makes the OS irrelevant." It appears you believe, and fear this, thus your pursuit of Google.

    But the truth is, the rise of the Internet doesn't make the OS irrelevant, but it does mean people now have more choice in their operating system, and people will increasingly choose the OS that gives them the most pleasant experience, on and offline.

    It's no secret to even you that the Windows experience is suboptimal. Of course it's unpleasant! For at least 15 years, you successful peddled relative junk, and a made a boat load of money doing it, because people, especially businesses, believed they had no choice. Worse, just as choice (in the form of Mac and Linux) was opening up, you decided you needed to beat Google, even though they're in a different market than you.

    Forget Google. Forget Yahoo. Leave internet search and advertising to them (or to Google, should Yahoo fail). You can still make a boat load of money selling software, be it Windows, Office, or your other offerings. Just make that software suck a little less.

  1. Horsepoo!!!

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I thought Apple wasn't a threat to MS! Ballmer and Gates have been saying this for years.

  1. Flying Meat

    Joined: Dec 1969



    "in the 'very competitive arenas' of operating systems..."

    Does anyone else smell the ingredients for a fresh batch of shenanigans in that?

  1. slapppy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Why is he worried

    If MS outsells Apple 30 to 1, whats the big deal? They have a lock and approved monopoly, why bother competing with Apple?

  1. whackjob

    Joined: Dec 1969


    No matter what

    Windows will always be a replication of OSX/Linux function in that a company once lead by Gates and now Monkey Boy JUST don't have the vision/mind for genuine end-user fun, functionality and care.

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