Microsoft Announces Massive Restructuring

Microsoft reshapes its vision for a more unified future

In a company-wide memo on Thursday, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced a major reshuffling and refocusing of the tech giant’s business strategy.

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One Microsoft

“We are rallying behind a single strategy as one company — not a collection of divisional strategies. Although we will deliver multiple devices and services to execute and monetize the strategy, the single core strategy will drive us to set shared goals for everything we do. We will see our product line holistically, not as a set of islands.”

The announced changes will decentralize specific divisions and free up executives in key leadership positions to focus more exclusively on technical responsibilities. This means, for instance, that Terry Myserson, once head of the Windows Phone division, is now executive vice president of operating system engineering, which includes Windows, Windows Phone, as well as the Xbox operating system.

“We will allocate resources and build devices and services that provide compelling, integrated experiences across the many screens in our lives, with maximum return to shareholders,” Balmer continues.  “All parts of the company will share and contribute to the success of core offerings, like Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox, Surface, Office 365 and our EA offer, Bing, Skype, Dynamics, Azure and our servers.”

What does this mean for gamers?

While the broad impact is still uncertain, what is clear is that because Microsoft is attempting to deliver an integrated (read: Apple-like) experience across multiple devices and services, all linked and synced by the cloud, we’re likely to see elements of the Metro interface from Windows 8 and the Surface on the Xbox One (or whatever user interface ends up replacing Metro). With the emphasis on Smartglass, it’s already clear that Microsoft wants the Xbox One to be connected as seamlessly as possible to tablets and phones, and this connectivity will probably also extend in some form across Windows-based PCs.

Julie Larson-Green, formerly the head of Windows engineering, will assume the mantle of executive vice president of devices and studio engineering, which means that alongside the Surface tablet and PC peripherals, the Xbox hardware is now under her purview. Larson-Green is known primarily for her talents at streamlining user interfaces, so it’s possible a successor to Metro could be coming sooner rather than later, and that it will roll out on the Xbox One simultaneously with other Microsoft devices.

After Don Mattrick’s departure, it was assumed Microsoft would appoint another executive to lead their Xbox division, but with the restructuring it’s possible that we won’t see a single lead executive for the console wing of the company, responsibility instead diffused across the newly appointed VPs.


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Author
Alan Bradley
Getting played by video games since the '80s. Host of the Pictures Changing Podcast (pictureschanging.blogspot.com) and notorious raconteur.