Microsoft Windows Gets a New Leader

Posted on March 29, 2018 by Mehedi Hassan in Hardware, Microsoft, Windows with 71 Comments

Microsoft is announcing a huge leadership change for Windows. The company is introducing a new leader for its Windows and Devices group — now the Experiences & Devices group — to lead its operating system and hardware efforts.

Rajesh Jha, previously the EVP of Office at Microsoft, will now be spearheading its new Experiences & Devices group. “The purpose of this team is to instill a unifying product ethos across our end-user experiences and devices,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Jha will be replacing Terry Myerson, who has long been the face of Windows and is also an integral part of Microsoft’s Senior Leadership Team. But according to sources close to the matter, many of Microsoft’s employees haven’t been a huge fan of Myerson, with some celebrating Myerson’s departure with “#Terryble” on internal discussion groups.

In addition to that, Surface’s Panos Panay will now serve as Microsoft’s Chief Product Officer as part of the latest leadership changes under Jha within the Experiences & Devices group.

Myerson first moved to Windows products back in 2008 when he was given the responsibility to head Microsoft’s Windows Mobile efforts and was also leading the launch of Windows 10 and Microsoft’s Windows as a Service efforts — but he hasn’t only been responsible for Windows at Microsoft. In fact, as the EVP of Microsoft’s Windows and Devices group, Myerson has been responsible for many of Microsoft’s flagship consumer-oriented products — including products like Surface, Xbox, and HoloLens. Myerson is yet to announce where he’s heading next, but he we will continue to work at the company for the next several months.

Elsewhere, Microsoft’s Scott Guthrie will now lead a new team focused on Cloud and AI, with Jason Zander being promoted as the EVP of Azure. With Guthrie now leading AI as well as Microsoft’s Cloud efforts, Harry Shum will continue to lead Microsoft’s Research and AI efforts, the company confirmed to Thurrott.com.

“Today’s announcement enables us to step up to this opportunity and responsibility across all our Solution Areas,” Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella said in an email to the firm’s employees. The leadership changes come at a critical stage for Microsoft. As the company expands its focus on its cloud business and cloud-driven products, the changes are expected to help the company innovate faster.

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Comments (86)

86 responses to “Microsoft Windows Gets a New Leader”

  1. Avatar

    johnh3

    Not suprised. I think Myerson did a bad job with with Windows Phone/Mobile for many years. Microsoft would been in a different place if they had been in the second spot after Android or in the same level as iOS.


    The coming years will be much harder when they lost the tech battle of the century who was mobile..

    • Avatar

      Maverick010

      In reply to johnh3: I have to agree. With Windows 10 mobile and the phones, the ball was dropped. The nokia purchase was bad. Windows 10 on the desktop, was getting better and able to adapt, but the phones were lagging behind and the store and uwp apps were not primed. Yes they had nice features for a phone app, but overall the tools for developers were at the time harder to work with and they dropped the Android/Linux subsystem bridge for mobile.

      Just too many back steps for every step they tried to take forward.


    • Avatar

      ponsaelius

      In reply to johnh3:

      Well he steered phone to non-existant. The devices part of the business was looking sparse.


      Windows 10 did move on from Windows 8 but the 1 billion target of users isn't looking like it will be met.


      Not failure but not glory either. Maybe managing decline in Windows was the best that could be done as Microsoft abandons consumer and becomes a cloud services company for business.

    • Avatar

      rmlounsbury

      In reply to johnh3:

      The problem with Windows Phone is that it was years late to the party. Both Android and iOS where fully entrenched and there wasn’t any room for a third option by the time Windows Phone came around.


      That failing is Balmer not Meyerson.

      • Avatar

        Greg Green

        In reply to rmlounsbury:

        I thought Windows phone was out well early, the problem was each new MS phone OS needed a new phone. Too many people lured and trapped by MS phone upgrade incompatibility.

        • Avatar

          rmlounsbury

          In reply to Greg Green:

          The 7.5 to 8 debacle didn't help them. But Microsoft didn't have a choice since 7 and 7.5 where basically re-skinned versions of the old Windows Mobile platform so there was never a direct upgrade path for those devices.


          But Windows Phone 7 came out in 2010. The iPhone had already been in market for 3 years while Android came out just a year after iPhone and had a 2 year head start. Windows Phone 8 which represented a fresh start for Windows on phones dumping CE and NT Kernel didn't come out until 2012 over 5 years after iPhone/iOS and 4 years after Android.


          Microsoft lost the mobile battle because they where too late to getting to market and iOS/Android had already cemented themselves as the Top 2 mobile OS platforms. When Windows Phone came out the hope was that it could become the 3rd option for mobile platforms and carve out a niche market which is a far cry from trying to compete for the top spot.

    • Avatar

      CaedenV

      In reply to johnh3:

      I don't really see things this way.

      It was not Terry who killed Windows Phone, it was the executive team. Microsoft's higher-ups were more interested in Windows Phone as being a patent producing machine that they then leased to android makers. Microsoft still makes more money off of Android phone sales than Google, and that steady stream of easy money prevented them from putting their full weight behind the phone platform early on. They wanted to produce the technology that made phones work without having to deal with making handsets or running a store.

      By the time they saw how much money closed-silo stores can make and they started promoting WP as a platform, it was too late. They elevated Terry because he was the one voice of sanity that was trying to push for this well before anyone else, but MS was still unable to get behind him, and it was simply too little too late for the phone platform. Then when Nadella came in he over-reacted and killed off the phone entirely, and not knowing what to do, put all of the windows hardware and software into a single division that it has largely ignored while they have focused on other aspects of the business.


      If anything, I see this as Terry being fairly fed up with a company that just isn't aligned with what he wants to do. My bet is that this is a step towards putting Windows on a more maintenance mode approach going forward. It will stick around, and continue to improve... but no more major changes coming to the core OS. It will still be the defacto platform for gamers and businesses (even more so now that development will slow down to a pace that business can deal with), but the growth of MS will be everywhere but Windows. And that's just not what Terry is wanting to be a part of, so he is probably ready to move on.

    • Avatar

      hrlngrv

      In reply to johnh3:

      . . . Microsoft would been in a different place if they had been in the second spot after Android or in the same level as iOS. . . .

      I'd be in a different place if I looked like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

      Counterfactuals are fun but of little real world relevance. It's hard to see anything MSFT could have done differently to have spurred Windows phone uptake other than obvious subsidies like a free Windows phone with every new Xbox (and if that didn't help, bundling a Windows phone with every MSFT-branded mouse or keyboard).

  2. Avatar

    roastedwookie

    :)) What was MS and what a junkyard has become. That CEO's obsession with $$, cloud and AI will be their entrance to irrelevance. So many reorganizations within this company clears out one thing: they have no idea what do to next, what white horse to beat :)). I would have never imagined I would see MS going in such pathetic direction....

    • Avatar

      hrlngrv

      In reply to roastedwookie:

      Given legally mandated fiduciary responsibility, CEOs have to be obsessed with making money. Seems like lots of MSFT fans refuse to accept this.

      • Avatar

        Greg Green

        In reply to hrlngrv:

        But wouldn’t there be more money with the old style of Windows development and marketing? Now we have an OS consumers never have to pay for. Previously there’d be an OS every 3 or 4 years that consumers paid to upgrade their old PCs to.

        • Avatar

          hrlngrv

          In reply to Greg Green:

          Times change, meaning circumstances change. Windows in 2008 was far more essential to personal computing than it is today with over 2 billion smartphones and a few hundred million iPads and Android tablets in use. Note that PC sales began to decline before Windows 8 went on sale.

          You mean Windows 10 users don't pay for updates, and that's true. However, I doubt most (> 90%) of Windows users have upgraded Windows versions on existing PCs for over 2 decades. That is, the only cases of mass upgrades for existing systems were MS-DOS 3.x/PC-DOS 4.x to MS-DOS 5 and Windows 3.x to Windows 95. Maybe Windows last millennium to Windows XP, but I doubt it. IOW, revenues from retail upgrades have been at most a rounding error in MSFT's Windows revenues since the late 1990s.

          Because PC sales are declining, MSFT needs to offer more to stimulate what sales remain in order to slow the decline as much as possible. Today that means WaaS, meaning periodic free upgrades.

          • Avatar

            skane2600

            In reply to hrlngrv:

            Still no definitive evidence that the rise of smartphones led to a significant drop in PC sales. Correlation isn't .. you know the drill.

            • Avatar

              hrlngrv

              In reply to skane2600:

              Even if we had data about the time people spent using various apps on PCs pre-smartphone and the time they spend using similar apps on phones now, we'd only have correlation. For that matter, there's still no definitive evidence showing gravitons, but gravity waves are predicted by Einstein's General Theory of Relativity (read it for the tensor notation), and to date the experimental evidence is consistent with it. Nevertheless, the evidence for gravity is entirely correlation.

              Besides, look at the popularity of Big Data and predictive analytics. A immense structure based on nothing more than correlation.

              These days, only a few cranky epistemologists demand proof of causation. Even philosophers of mathematics gave up on canonical skepticism after Gödel's proof.

            • Avatar

              ym73

              In reply to skane2600:

              Does it matter? PC sales are going down every year. People don't feel like they need to buy new computers. In the past, after about 3 years, new software would be too large and required more power forcing people to upgrade. All the consumer side software development has moved to mobile. Only PC game development has kept PC relevant on the consumer side. Even there, there isn't a single game I can't run on my computer that hasn't been updated in 5 years now.

        • Avatar

          ym73

          In reply to Greg Green:

          Someone hasn't been paying attention. PC sales have been going down every year for the past 5 years. Consumers are using smartphones for their computing. Computers are mostly to use some company software or to use office or something like quickbooks. Emails, web browsing, and even watching videos has moved to smartphones and tablets.


          So there won't be any growth from the PC side. They will still make money selling to PC makers and enterprise customers. Consumers rarely bought a boxed version of windows. They got the latest windows when they bought a new PC and they are not buying new PCs very often anymore. So, switching to the new model makes sense. You still get paid from enterprise customers and you won't become completely irrelevant on the consumer side.

  3. Avatar

    skane2600

    I don't think much of Microsoft's strategy since they started working on the Windows 8 fiasco. There are lots of executives to point fingers at. Perhaps only Bill Gates is innocent.

    • Avatar

      hrlngrv

      In reply to skane2600:

      Windows 8 was a painfully obvious gambit intended to force the tiles UI on PC users in the hope of making the Windows Phone UI more familiar to large numbers of people as quickly as possible in order to spur Windows phone sales. It's possible it may have been a necessary gambit, that Windows 8 may in fact have improved Windows phones' prospects, but the platform was already doomed.

      I think Windows 8 was akin to a driver in a truck which has lost its breaks having to decide whether to plow into a school bus or a senior center van, and choosing the latter. Regrettable, nevertheless the best of very bad options.

      • Avatar

        Greg Green

        In reply to hrlngrv:

        But MS claimed user metric support for all their design decisions. Makes me really wonder what users they were watching.

      • Avatar

        skane2600

        In reply to hrlngrv:

        It was definitely an attempt to promote Windows Phones, but no, there was nothing "necessary" about Windows 8. Just a bad idea that Microsoft is still in denial about.


        They could have created a legacy-free touch-optimized OS with a new name that was both superior to WP8 without damaging their core product, Windows. It might not have been enough to make Microsoft a viable competitor in mobile, but it's hard to imagine it could have done any worse.

        • Avatar

          hrlngrv

          In reply to skane2600:

          I agree that Apple got it right and MSFT dead wrong that microcomputers and mobile devices should have different OSes. Even so, I also believe MSFT was frantically desperate about Windows Phone by mid-2011. Yes, Windows 8 would have had to have been under design before 2010, but I figure MSFT knew back then they'd have to try to leverage Windows on PCs to give Windows on phones a fighting chance.

  4. Avatar

    chrisrut

    I can hardly wait to see how Paul has to say :-)

  5. Avatar

    atulmarathe

    I can't shake the feeling that at build this year, Microsoft is going to hint that Windows 10 is not their "focus" going forward, but they're focusing on something that "they've built from the ground up for cloud and AI"...

  6. Avatar

    chrisrut

    "Shoulda been done long ago" Buffalo Springfield


    The real key is that it's now the "experiences" not the "windows" and devices group.


    The notion that the OS exists to support the experiences dates back at least to 1980 and the Valdocs system - if not back to the late 60s and Claude Kagan's "Home Reckoner." Bill Gates wasn't part of that conversation - he was more focused on the OS as core - and that legacy persisted until - right now.


    The OS is the foundation upon which the house is built. But we live in the house.


    Shoulda been done long ago...


  7. Avatar

    hrlngrv

    I mentioned something entirely tongue-in-cheek some days ago about Windows becoming little more than UWP and desktop software running via containers or emulators, so Windows for ARM for ALL with complex software which couldn't work within container/emulator moving to Linux to be run under WSL. Seems less tongue-in-cheek now.

    Saw the Sams Report too. Windows on the road to deprecation. Well, that may be too extreme, but Consumers? Who needs 'em? does seem to be a take-away from this. MSFT embracing it's IBM 2.0 future.

  8. Avatar

    skane2600

    An "experiences" group might make sense for a tourist destination or a company that operates Murder Mystery trains, but doesn't bode well for a software company. Group names as marketing?

  9. Avatar

    Stooks

    From a consumer perspective Microsoft matters less and less and less. Only the Xbox still matters to consumers and that is getting crushed by Sony and Nintendo. The consumer market has been bigger than the Enterprise market since 2008 or so in terms of $$$$ spent on products (software/hardware).


    If they get rid of the Xbox in 10 years most consumers will be aware of Microsoft like they are aware of IBM.

  10. Avatar

    Mark from CO

    Mehedi:


    Wow! Is the leadership position of Windows a death sentence?


    Your last sentence captures everything - Microsoft has to innovate much faster, but also learn how to execute with more precision and pace.


    Mark from CO

  11. Avatar

    rameshthanikodi

    It sounds like Terry is being asked to leave. Has he been a poor steward for Windows? While I think things like Windows 10s and having links open in Edge are decisions that drove me nuts, I still think Windows has been as good as it's ever been.

  12. Avatar

    GT Tecolotecreek

    Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic...

  13. Avatar

    PeteB

    New conductor for the Titanic orchestra

  14. Avatar

    Lewk

    Is it a coincidence this announcement happens almost a week after the latest Window 10 is RTM'd?

  15. Avatar

    will

    This is a major shift for Microsoft, just weeks before Build. It seems like while Windows is still going to be around, Joe B is going to be leading that group (good choice), it is taking a back seat to services and cloud.


    In terms of Terry stepping aside, if someone is doing a great job, you don't do a major change like this as that person could lead the change. Since the title changed and other exec's got moved around I am thinking they are going to move in a new direction with Windows being a part of it, but not the driving part anymore.

    • Avatar

      shameermulji

      In reply to will:

      Mary Jo Foley shares the similar sentiments.


      "Microsoft is making these moves because the PC market is no longer growing much, if at all. Its cloud and subscription businesses are growing, however."


      "Microsoft is hoping it can do with Windows what it did with Office. The company managed to turn its individual on-premises Office products into a cloud bundle with Office 365 -- which is growing even faster than Microsoft itself expected. (Microsoft officials have predicted the company could have two-thirds of its Office users in the cloud by its fiscal 2019.) Now, it's trying to do something similar for Windows with Microsoft 365: Create a bundle of cloud services anchored by Windows 10 that will provide the company with a recurring revenue stream."


      http://www.zdnet.com/article/heres-how-and-why-microsoft-is-splitting-up-windows-in-its-latest-reorg/

      • Avatar

        hrlngrv

        In reply to shameermulji:

        . . . that will provide the company with a recurring revenue stream . . .

        I realize these are Mary Jo Foley's words.

        How did Software Assurance and Volume Purchasing programs not provide recurring revenue streams?

        And I have to be cynical: if MSFT prefers subscriptions, that must mean subscriptions bring in more revenues over time, so I have to wonder why subscribers are going for it.

  16. Avatar

    Bats



    Why is Microsoft still sticking with Panos Panay? It's under his watch where the Surface line of computers were labeled as unreliable and we know that they are not selling well. OR....is this "promotion" as CxO is really a demotion? LOL...I can't forget the stone cold lie that he told about his father teaching him about "quality." If that was really true, would his father be proud of the Surfce's unreliability? Or how about the problems, the Surfacebook, had?

    As for Windows,...

    The problem with Windows is the name..."Windows." If Microsoft wants another computer to be sold utilizing a stripped down version of Windows Pro, like Windows S, they need to come up with a totally different name. With Windows S, people were perhaps thinking that they got a basic version of Windows, which is what they thought they needed. Now Windows S, was either an ill-conceived idea to trap users into the Microsoft ecosystem or a marketing GENIUS to get them to shell $50 for the Windows 10 Pro upgrade. The way I see it (and it's correct), Windows 10 S is Microsoft's version of Chrome OS. If Microsoft changed the name to something like "Microsoft One", then perhaps people wouldn't feel tricked into buying an invalid Operating System. I can't believe Myerson didn't see that coming and perhaps should be replaced. 

    All in all, Microsoft needs to clean house. Too many failed products and absolutely ZERO innovation.

    • Avatar

      Randall Lewis

      In reply to Bats:

      The "reliability" issue is entirely related to Consumer Reports flaky, unscientific, unreliable, and "screwy" (according to Wired) method of judging product reliability. While their test results are top notch, the annual survey of their readers is what they use to determine their reliability ranking. There is no way for them to know if the people responding have ever owned a Surface device, let alone had issues with one.

  17. Avatar

    Chris Payne

    ANOTHER reorg? Geez, this just shows the pressure MS is under and how they haven't been executing well. I can't help but wonder if part of the problem is their lack of clarity in divisions and roles. For example, what the heck is "experiences" for a division? Doesn't everyone participate in that? Also, why do they have two organizations with AI in the title (Cloud + AI , AI + Research)? Vague, emotionally appealing division names, to me, means you don't have clear focus on what you're actually trying to accomplish.

  18. Avatar

    nbplopes

    I think Nadella once he saw what Windows on ARM is ... he had enough.


    The future of Windows is to be a MS Cloud bakery (Ofiice 365) selling cakes sprinkled with XBOX Live Gaming and Web Apps backed by Azure and Edge. Little money to be done by third party software houses and digital services unless they fall under the umbrella of high bucks partnerships. That is until they get assimilated ...


    The borg.

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