The shuffling of chairs aboard the Microsoft deck continues. Hours before Microsoft announced a rough Q4 2015 earnings report; news of yet another important consolidation surfaced. Had any analyst, journalist or Windows fan blinked, they would might have missed it. Unlike the well-publicized emails sent from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella which usually accompanied layoffs amid talks of laser focusing and restructuring, today’s news was donned with a simple confirmation from a Microsoft spokesperson.
Microsoft journalist Mary Jo Foley surfaced information that Corporate Vice President in charge of the Surface, Panos Panay, will be in part taking over for former Microsoft Devices chief Stephen Elop. According to Mary Jo Foley's report, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed that Panay "will be taking over (engineering for) premium devices." As it turns out, Microsoft is still navigating the waves from the massive restructuring email Nadella sent a few weeks ago.
Even though Windows Phone fans who longed for a flagship still have questions about Elop’s tenure, the position he had held at Microsoft before his departure was very encompassing. With Elop gone, the void is now being filled by two separate posts. While Panos will not be taking on the financial, marketing, or supply chain parts of Elop’s former role, he will be overseeing the 'engineering' of premium Microsoft devices. Panos will now handle the look and feel of devices such as flagship Windows Mobile devices, Xbox consoles and accessories, Surface Hub conferencing systems, the next generations of Microsoft Band and Surface, as well as subsequent HoloLens hardware.
Judging by the reception the Surface Pro 3 is receiving along with becoming Microsoft's next billion dollar business, it looks like Microsoft’s premium hardware future is in good hands. According to sources Mary Jo has at her disposal, the Panos shift was announced internally last week. As for the official title Panos will bear, its still in the works and has yet to be revealed.
Panos was not the only executive to shift responsibilities. Microsoft is also consolidating its Applications and Services Group and returning Microsoft employee Jeff Teper into the now combined OneDrive and SharePoint team. Jeff previously served as head of Corporate Strategy for Microsoft. As Microsoft’s earnings report showcased, its Microsoft Cloud & Enterprise team is where its future rests. Part of hoisting up that business includes the future combining of OneDrive, SharePoint, Outlook, Exchange, Office 365 services, as well as Yammer units. Corporate Vice President Rajesh Jha, who currently heads up Office 365, will eventually oversee the new monolith of Microsoft’s Cloud & Enterprise Division.
Specifically the reporting breaks down to Temper running OneDrive and SharePoint (ODSP) while reporting to Jha. Meanwhile, the head of newly acquired Acompli will become Corporate Vice President of Outlook, taking the place of Harve Bhela. Bhela is moving to fill the spot of David Treadwell, a Windows veteran who will now have a new home in the Microsoft Cloud & Enterprise Division.
Microsoft is a massive company attempting to redefine its successes and failures as well as its future. With a company of this size comes reverberating consequences that will be felt for the next few quarters if not the next couple of years.