Microsoft’s most significant corporate reorganization in years makes a couple of important statements. One is that Windows, Microsoft’s longtime cash cow, has given way to its Azure cloud as the company’s most important product. Another is that Microsoft is getting more serious about turning its hefty investments in artificial intelligence research into actual revenue, and gearing up for the coming battle with Google and Amazon Web Services in cloud-based AI services.
Microsoft has split its Windows team, with part of it going into the newly formed “Cloud + AI” unit under EVP Scott Guthrie (whom we interviewed last month), and the other part going into the new “Experiences & Devices” unit under EVP Rajesh Sha. Moving Windows under Mr. Guthrie, Microsoft’s top cloud executive, may portend a future subscription-based version of Windows. And with Microsoft’s AI efforts being added to Mr. Guthrie’s purview, he is now arguably the company’s second-most powerful executive.
But along with the promotions comes one major (and surprising) executive departure. Terry Myerson, who led the now-defunct Windows & Devices unit and spent much of the past decade rising through Microsoft’s executive ranks, is leaving the company.