Microsoft is announcing another big reorganization today, pushing the core of the company’s Windows operating system in a new direction. Windows chief Terry Myerson, a 21-year Microsoft veteran, is departing the company as Microsoft seeks to unify its artificial intelligence and core Windows OS components into a single team. That new team will be headed by Scott Guthrie, who’s currently in charge of Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform. Microsoft’s AI platform work, currently headed up by Harry Shum, will also move into this single team. Shum will continue to lead an engineering team, AI + Research, which focuses on tech advances that can be used in future Microsoft products.
Microsoft is also creating a separate division dubbed “Experiences & Devices” that will look after Windows client releases that you see on laptops and devices, first-party apps, Office 365, and Surface hardware. Rajesh Jha, previously an Office executive, will be leading this new team as Terry Myerson departs in several months time. The Xbox unit is remaining the same, with Microsoft’s overall gaming efforts being led by Phil Spencer.
Panos Panay, Microsoft’s Surface chief, is now Microsoft’s Chief Product Officer for the company’s first-party devices like Surface and HoloLens. Joe Belfiore is also remaining under the main Windows team, running experiences for PCs and devices. Belfiore will be responsible for sharing more of the Windows roadmap at the company’s Build developer conference in May.
Despite this shake up, CEO Satya Nadella says “the future of Windows is bright” in a memo to employees. Nadella appears to be focusing the company’s core Windows efforts, Azure, and IoT devices into a team that will infuse artificial intelligent into them. At the same time, Microsoft is also creating an AI and Ethics in Engineering and Research (AETHER) Committee, which will bring the company’s senior leaders together to discuss policies on how to handle AI issues in what the company calls a “responsible way.” Harry Shum and Microsoft’s chief legal officer, Brad Smith, have created this committee.