Microsoft announced a sweeping shake-up of its executive ranks Thursday, placing new executives over operations facing fierce new competition from Google, Apple and cellphone makers.
The announcements were part of a broad management reorganization involving seven new senior vice presidents and seven new corporate vice presidents.
One of the more significant leadership changes was in the cellphone operations. Andy Lees was named senior vice president for mobile communications operations. Mr. Lees, who had overseen the server business, succeeds Pieter Knook, who, the company said, “made the decision to leave Microsoft to pursue other opportunities.”
Microsoft has been paying more attention to its cellphone business following the introduction of Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android software operating system. In only a few months of the iPhone’s release, according to Canalys, a market research firm, Apple gained 28 percent of the smartphone market in the United States, a greater share of the market than the cellphones using Microsoft’s Windows Mobile software. Research In Motion, maker of the BlackBerry, leads the category that has been dominated by phones made for business users.
Microsoft is showing more interest in the consumer market. This week it announced it was buying Danger, the maker of the popular Sidekick cellphone.
Analysts said that Microsoft was moving to confront a growing competitive threat from a range of companies that have positioned themselves to offer Web-based alternatives to Microsoft’s core office-productivity applications. The other major change was the replacement of Steve Berkowitz, the current senior vice president of Microsoft’s Online Services group. Mr. Berkowitz, the former chief executive of the online site Ask Jeeves, was hired with great fanfare in April 2006 to help revive Microsoft’s search and portal operations. Microsoft has been unable to make a dent in Google’s growing dominance in search and search advertising. Mr. Berkowitz will leave the company this August, the company said.
Responsibility for online operation was split among three executives who will work in the combined organization that handles both Internet activities and the Windows operating system, which is run by Kevin Johnson.
Satya Nadella, will be the senior vice president for the search, portals and advertising group. Mr. Nadella is on the engineering side of Microsoft, and will look after the technical side of Web search, advertising systems and related systems. He will also have responsibility for the programming of the MSN portal.
Bill Veghte, will be the senior vice president for online services and Windows, handling sales, marketing and product management both for Windows and online operations.
Brian McAndrews, the senior vice president of the advertiser and publisher solutions group, will look after the strategy and marketing of Microsoft’s online activities jointly with Mr. Veghte and Mr. Nadella.
(Source: The New York Times)