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Can Terry Myerson Save Windows?

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's realignment of the company's organizational structure is a major bet that removing the silos that existed in product groups will help fulfill his mandate of transforming Microsoft from a traditional software supplier to a devices and services company. While there are many nuances of the new "One Microsoft" organization Ballmer revealed yesterday, one of the biggest bets Ballmer is making is on Terry Myerson.

Ballmer has tapped Myerson to lead Microsoft's new Operating Systems group. In other words, the future of Windows is on Myerson's shoulders. Just to be clear, that's all of Windows. The new Operating Systems organization is responsible for Windows delivered to Xbox, Windows Phone, PCs, tablets, Windows Server and Windows Azure. Until now, these versions of Windows were spread across three autonomous organizations, which had no stake in working with other groups.

I've read some debate as to whether Myerson should be tasked with ensuring the uniformity of Windows, given the lackluster results of Windows Phone, which he previously oversaw. But that may be an unfair criticism, since by the time Myerson arrived in the Windows Phone group its problems were already solidified. The problems with Windows Phone aren't issues with the quality of the platform -- in fact its likeness to Windows 8 makes the tandem an attractive option if the company can find a way to address the marketing obstacles that seem to be stunting the growth of Windows 8.

Myerson joined Microsoft in 1997, when the company acquired Intersé Corp., a Web analytics company he founded at the age of 21, according to his bio. Before leading the Windows Phone group, Myerson led Microsoft's Exchange Server team.

Just as Myerson will be responsible for delivering a unified Windows, the centralization of Microsoft's marketing under Tami Reller aims to provide a common message about the "One Microsoft" as it pertains to Windows. Equally important will be Myerson's ability to collaborate with Microsoft's OEM partners and Julie Larson-Green, whom Ballmer tapped to oversee the development and distribution of Microsoft's own hardware and online services.

"We've got innovative ideas coming from our OEM partners and Julie's team has some very innovative ideas," Myerson said yesterday during a conference call held for media and analysts to discuss the reorg. "Terry and I have worked together for a long time," Larson-Green added. "We both have worked on the operating system side. I've worked on the hardware side and it's a good blending of our skills and our teams to deliver things together. So the structure that we're putting in place for the whole company is about working across the different disciplines and having product champions. So Terry and I will be working to lead delivery to market of our first-party and third-party devices."

It could take years before it's clear whether Ballmer's sweeping reorg works. The success of Windows 8 will be among the most closely watched barometers of that success. And critics and Wall Street won't be waiting for years to weigh in.

What's your take on Ballmer's choice of Myerson to shepherd the unification of Windows -- and the overall decision to break down the organization silos at Microsoft? Feel free to comment below or drop me a line at [email protected].


Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 07/12/2013 at 1:15 PM


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