Microsoft Revamps Office Group
Microsoft said this week it will split the Office business unit in two to better reflect the suite's continuing evolution, and has appointed two veteran insiders to head the new groups.
The reorganization, which was not a surprise, was announced by Jeff Raikes, president of the Microsoft Business Division.
The company announced in March that Steven Sinofsky, senior vice president of Microsoft Office, would move to take over the troubled Windows division. Sinofsky's new title is senior vice president of the Windows and Windows Live Group, one of eight groups in the Platforms and Services Division (PSD).
However, Sinofsky's move was in turn driven by the pending retirement of Jim Allchin, co-president of PSD. Allchin -- who plans to leave Microsoft after Vista ships to manufacturing this fall -- has by some been blamed for much of Vista's lateness.
That left a hole at the top of the Office leadership that Raikes and other senior executives decided necessitated a new structure.
"As the Microsoft Business Division Senior Leadership Team considered the approaches to filling Steven's role as lead of Office development they concluded that the organization would benefit from a slightly different model for Office engineering leadership moving forward," Microsoft officials said in a prepared statement.
The first of the two new teams is the Office Productivity Applications group, including Office and Office Live services, which will be led by corporate vice president Antoine Leblond. According to his biography online, the Quebec City, Canada, native joined the company as a software engineer in 1989 and has spent much of his career working on Office and Office-related technologies.
Leblond was awarded Microsoft's Distinguished Engineer status in 2000 -- no small feat in a company whose head technologist is Bill Gates. From 2002 until now, Leblond was corporate vice president of Office Program Management, overseeing planning and design work for future versions of the Office system.
The new Office Business Platform group, which will have responsibility for SharePoint, Groove and Project, as well as related services, will be headed by corporate vice president Kurt DelBene. Another long-term executive, DelBene joined Microsoft in 1992 after earlier stints as a technology consultant at McKinsey and Company and as a graphics and network switching software developer at AT&T Bell Laboratories.
During his tenure at Microsoft, DelBene has been vice president of Authoring and Collaboration Services, where he was responsible for the development of Office's document and Web page authoring and collaboration products. He also served as general manager of Outlook, a group program manager for Exchange, and a group manager in Microsoft's Systems Division.
Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.