The end of Windows as we know it


A massive reorganization currently underway in the Windows unit foresees a wholesale change in the venerable OS

Earlier this morning, Ina Fried at AllThingsD dropped a bombshell: Today, the Windows unit is going through a massive reorganization that passes over many Windows stalwarts, bringing in a whole new crop of Windows honchos. Details are only starting to emerge, but this could well mark the start of a massive re-thinking of the way Windows works.

It’s about time.

The old guard is dropping like flies. Steve Sinofsky — who brought us Windows 7, the best Windows of all time, as well as the monstrosity known as Windows 8 — left last year.

Julie Larson-Green, who led the much-maligned UI effort on Windows 8 and brought us Windows 8.1, left to run the Devices unit of the newly reorganized Microsoft. In the past couple of weeks, her future place in the organization has been clouded by Stephen Elop’s return to the fold. Elop’s slated to lead the Devices unit, with Larson-Green picking up the Xbox One and Surface efforts.

Now it looks like almost all of the rest of the key Windows 8 management team is taking a hike. Fried puts it this way:

Terry Myerson will have at least seven direct reports in the new structure, including leaders for the development, test and program management positions plus individuals heading the company’s phone/tablet/PC, Xbox, Services, as well as another in charge of “future special projects.” Heading development will be Henry Sanders, who had worked with Myerson on Windows Phone. Also from the phone team, Joe Belfiore will lead a team focused on phones, tablets and PCs. The Xbox team will be run by Marc Whitten. Chris Jones will continue heading services.

Windows Phone, once in danger of being swallowed by the Sinofsky post-Windows 8 putsch, has effectively taken over the Windows effort, with former Phone execs now in charge of the most crucial areas. How do you spell “WinRT”?

More importantly, look at who isn’t included in the reorganization plan, according to Fried:

Among the names not atop the new leadership list are Windows testing head Grant George, Windows services head Antoine Leblond and Microsoft veteran Jon DeVaan. It is unclear whether the trio will land roles within Windows, elsewhere at Microsoft or end up leaving the company.

I’ve been following Windows dev machinations for a lot of years and the Office group before that, and I can’t imagine how the organization is going to continue without those three.

Leblond has long held a high-visibility spot on the Windows team, in many cases acting as a lightning rod for Microsoft’s less-enlightened design decisions. Many people forget, but Leblond arrived on the Windows dev team as a Friend of Sinofsky, after spending many years working on Office. He led the development of Office 2010 after Sinofsky switched over to rescue Windows 7.

Read more: The end of Windows as we know it

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This entry was posted on Monday, September 9th, 2013 at 2:57 pm and is filed under Technology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.