Steve Ballmer Outlines Plan to Reorganize Microsoft Into a Lean, Mean, Streamlined Machine

Paul Lilly

Microsoft embarking on ambitious realignment effort

In a long-winded open email to employees, Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer talked at length about the company's "far-reaching realignment" strategy that has been rumored in the media for about the past week. Though he goes on and on (and on...), the underlying message is that Microsoft is ready to rally behind a single strategy as one company as opposed to a collection of divisional strategies. It's a streamlining of its operations, if you will.

"This means we will organize the company by function: Engineering (including supply chain and datacenters), Marketing, Business Development and Evangelism, Advanced Strategy and Research, Finance, HR, Legal, and COO (including field, support, commercial operations and IT)," Ballmer stated in his memo to employees. "Each discipline will help drive our overall strategy. Each discipline will also be charged with improving our core capabilities in its area. We must improve in all aspects of the business."

Ballmer assured employees (and the masses, as it were) that Microsoft will continue to deliver multiple devices and services, but with a single core strategy. "We will see our product line holistically, not as a set of islands," Ballmer said. The end goal is to bring products to market faster and encourage users to adopt Microsoft technologies on a variety of devices.

Part of the restructuring effort includes having four new engineering groups: Operating Systems, Apps, Cloud, and Devices. There will also be teams focused on marketing, research, finance, and various other housekeeping chores. One of the casualties of the reorganization process is Kurt BelBene, president of Microsoft Office, who will now be retiring after more than two decades of service.

On the consumer side, there's not a lot to pump your fist about here, not yet anyway. Reorganizing Microsoft is one thing, but being successful in that endeavor and showing an ability to evolve with the market place is another. Time will tell whether or not Ballmer's reorganization strategy turns out to be a savvy business move.

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