With PC growth on the wane, and demand booming for smartphones and tablets, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive, has announced a restructuring of the software giant designed to get more of its products used on devices other than PCs.
In a memo sent to employees, Ballmer said that, going forward, “our strategy will focus on creating a family of devices and services for individuals and businesses that empower people around the globe at home, at work and on the go, for the activities they value most”.
He added that Microsoft was “rallying behind a single strategy as one company – not a collection of divisional strategies” and that “we will see our product line holistically, not as a set of islands”.
Ballmer said he wants all parts of Microsoft to share and contribute to the success of core offerings, like Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox, Surface, Office 365, EA [Enterprise Agreement], Bing, Skype, Dynamics, Azure and servers.
“All parts of the company will contribute to activating high-value experiences for our customers,” said the chief executive.
In practical terms, it means that Microsoft will be organised 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).
There will also be four engineering areas: OS, Apps, Cloud, and Devices.
“Undoubtedly, as we involve more people there will be new issues and changes to our current thinking as well,” said Ballmer. “Completing this process will take through the end of the calendar year as we figure things out and as we keep existing teams focused on current deliverables like Windows 8.1, Xbox One and Windows Phone.”
Whether or not the reorganisation will help Microsoft’s push into mobile is open to debate.
Microsoft has tried to crack the mobile OS space for over ten years but, so far, without much success. Since launching its Windows Phone 8 mobile OS in October 2012, as well as entering into a strategic partnership with Nokia – along with agreements from Samsung and HTC to launch Windows Phone 8 devices – the viability of having a third mobile OS ecosystem to seriously challenge Android and iOS has still to be proven.