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BLOG: What the reorg will reveal about Microsoft's future direction

Woody Leonhard | June 25, 2013
Ballmer could unveil his plans to restructure the tech giant this week. The key question is how will responsibility for Windows and Office be divvied up?

Tami Reller holds the title Chief Marketing Office and Chief Financial Officer for Windows. Unlike Larson-Green, Reller came up through the ranks in the Dynamics division. There have been persistent rumors that she was in the running for the top Microsoft financial job, which was taken by Amy Hood (former CFO of the Office division) last month.

If the reorg lumps together Windows, Windows Phone, and Office (maybe even Dynamics), two of those three very powerful and senior people aren't going to be happy about being passed over as the new leader.

And finally, let's not forget Elop. Sure, he's been CEO of Nokia for almost three years, but ran the Microsoft Business division for nearly three years before that. At the time he left Microsoft, Elop was the company's eighth largest shareholder.

Imagine a future, if you will, where Microsoft buys out Nokia, and pulls Elop back in to run a new Windows/Windows Phone/Business division.

Nancy Gohring at CITEworld lists many reasons why Microsoft probably wouldn't want to buy Nokia outright (last week the Wall Street Journal said that talks between Microsoft and Nokia fell through). But Gohring also notes that Microsoft might be well-advised to buy Nokia as a defensive manuever to keep Nokia in the Windows Phone fold. InfoWorld's Ted Samson worked through theimplications of Huawei taking over Nokia in just such a scenario.

Could Ballmer be waiting to make a grand announcement about Microsoft getting into the Surface-née-Nokia Phone business, as yet another prelude to the reorg?

One thing's for sure: Ballmer doesn't have too many reorgs left in him. At some point Microsoft's going to need a successor to the Bill & Steve show. With Sinofsky out of the running — assuming he stays out of the running — it's time to start grooming the next generation of Microsoft leadership. Elop wouldn't be a bad choice.

 

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