Verden blev vågnet i morges til en strøm af nyheder fra Microsoft, som er indeholdt i et internt notat (du kan se en kopi på GeekWire) that describes a major restructuring of the Softie’s sanctum sanctorumOg en pressemeddelelse announcing the new Microsoft AI and Research Group. There’s a lot of change going on beneath the surface, but to me, the biggest takeaway is that Cortana has a new, much larger incubator.
TL;DR: Highly respected honcho Qi Lu is out, Cortana is getting grafted onto MS Research, Office is moving to its own group, and Skype’s future is unclear.
I aftes brød Kara Swisher og Ina Fried på Recode nyheden: Microsoft’s Qi Lu, executive VP in charge of the applications and services unit, is leaving the company due to health issues. The health issues weren’t fully explored, but Swisher and Fried say they “arose from a bicycle accident that took place several months ago, according to sources.” The sources aren’t identified, and I haven’t found independent confirmation.
Lu har haft en bemærkelsesværdig karriere. Han flyttede fra Yahoo til Microsoft i december 2008, og derefter administrerende direktør Steve Ballmer satte ham i spidsen for tre hardladende ingeniører: Brian McAndrews (reklame- og udgiverløsninger), Yusuf Mehdi (produktchef for MSN og marketing) og en Satya Nadella (søgning, Microsoft portal og reklameplatformen). Forhøjet til formand for onlinetjenester in July 2009, Lu was the only top exec who survived the Ballmer-Nadella transition. Seven years ago, Nadella was working for Lu. By all accounts, Lu wasn’t interested in taking over Ballmer’s job.
Yesterday, Lu was in charge of the Applications and Services Group, which cuts a broad swath through Microsoft’s tech empire: Office (all flavors), Skype, Bing, and much more. Nadella’s reorg pulls Office out into its own group and puts an unexpected emphasis on AI in general and Cortana in particular.
Cortana and Bing (overseen by Derrick Connell) go to a new AI and Research Group — where they belong — with MS Research, Information Platform (David Ku’s realm), and Robotics (headed up by Vijay Mital). All of them will be under Harry Shum, who is executive VP of technology and research. It’s not clear to me if Shum will continue to be directly responsible for the MS Research team. He was in charge of Bing search from 2007 to 2013, and he’s been in charge of MS Research since then.
In a move that surprised me, Rajesh Jha was put in charge of a new Office Products Group, and the whole group was elevated to report directly to Nadella. Yesterday, Jha was in charge of Office 365, Exchange, and the many flavors of Outlook, reporting to Lu, a position he took in May 2014. Now he has Office, OneNote, Skype … the whole thing.
More surprising, Gurdeep Singh Pall is out as the head of Skype, with no word as yet what he’ll be doing next. Nadella says, “Gurdeep will transition the Skype team to Rajesh over the coming weeks,” but it isn’t clear who will be in charge of Skype.
Forvent mere transkontinental krumning. Julie Larson-Green forbliver som Chief Experience Officer for Office-gruppen og driver Office Experience Organization, men rapporterer nu til Jha i stedet for Lu. Eran Megiddo forbliver ansvarlig for OneNote, Wunderlist og Education, mens han rapporterer til Jha i stedet for Lu.
Cortana skal danse på gaden. Med denne omgang sætter Nadella betydelige muskler og penge bagved hans engagement to “the democratization” of artificial intelligence. (Sounds a whole lot better than “mobile first, cloud first,” eh?) At least, Microsoft will give Google and Apple a good run for the money.
I offer obeisance to our emerging electronic overlords, but I wonder if they’ll speak Microsoft.