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Microsoft’s reorganisation will enable innovation and focus on devices and services

Microsoft Steve BallmerMost tech companies that go beyond the startup phase will begin to break off into departments that have their own mission statement.

When a company gets as big as Microsoft, you will have dozens of departments with an even larger number of strategies as they work on their own projects. But that is something that is going to change now, according to an email sent to all employees and posted on Microsoft News Blog.

The email details the reorganization of the entire company to fit a new policy. It is called One Microsoft, and it will work to entirely integrate the different departments of the company into a singular force.

“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,” CEO Steve Ballmer wrote.

“We will do this by leveraging our strengths.”

Perhaps the biggest change will be the focus on core products like the Xbox, Windows and the Windows Phone from everyone within the company. Each department will be required to contribute to all projects, rather than each department concentrating their efforts on a single one. They hope with this new policy they will be able to create a more consistent line of high quality products.

Their engineering strategy is another big shift. Plans for products will be across the entire company now, as will the work that is done on each. It will integrate each sector of their development into a single team, cutting out any potential misunderstandings and potentially improving the ability to listen to market needs when it comes to features.

Five main areas are going to exist now for engineering: Cloud, OS, Apps, Devices and Dynamics. The last is the only one that will still be held separate, with the other four all falling under the same banner.

“This means we will organize the company 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),” it went on to say.

“Each discipline will help drive our overall strategy. Each discipline will also be charged with improving our core capabilities in its area. We must improve in all aspects of the business.”

As for the employees, they are going to be broken up into smaller teams that ultimately make up a larger team that includes the entire company. Like cell clusters working within a singular body. Each team will have a “champion” who will be responsible for communicating directly with the higher-ups, such as Ballmer himself.

“The champion will organize to drive a cross-company team for success, but my whole staff will have commitment to the initiative’s success. We will also have outgrowths on those major initiatives that may involve only a single product group.”

Collaboration won’t just be a part of the company restructuring, however. We can expect to see the same with their devices, which have been slowly increasing their efforts to better sync their products in the way their main competitors, Apple and Google, have become known for.

“We will strive for a single experience for everything in a person’s life that matters. One experience, one company, one set of learnings [sic], one set of apps, and one personal library of entertainment, photos and information everywhere. One store for everything. Microsoft has the clear opportunity to offer consumers a unified experience across all aspects of their life, whether the screen is a small wearable, a phone, a tablet, an 85-inch display or other screens and devices we have not yet even imagined.”

Notice how he mentioned “a small wearable”. This seems to confirm that Microsoft will at least be making an effort to develop something in the currently over-hyped wearable technologies market. Though we have no real way of knowing what form that might take, rumors of Apple looking to develop an iWatch is probably a big part of this decision.

Other changes are expected in the coming months, mainly to their financial structure. Sources are nervous on Wall Street, thanks to speculation that Microsoft is going to take a “unified” approach to their financial reporting, as well. This would make it more difficult to ascertain which projects (such as Bing or Windows) are losing value, and so transparency would be all but impossible. That isn’t a way to endear themselves to the markets, though it does show a potentially increased insular nature to the company itself.

With a mass meeting of employees happening right now to discuss these changes further, they appear to be jumping in with both feet. Ballmer ended on a rather direct note in this email:

“Let’s Go.”

Source: Microsoft News

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