When Windows 2000 (Win2K) neared its golden master stage in December 1999, Microsoft restructured its command and announced major changes in upper-level management and in its corporate organizational structure. The most significant change was that Microsoft merged the two Windows divisions, the Consumer Division and the Business and Enterprise Division, into one business unit.
The reorganization led to Jim Allchin's assignment as group vice president of the Platforms Group, which includes the Windows and streaming media teams. Analysts speculate that the unification of the 16-bit and 32-bit Windows code bases will be the major task for this group in the coming year. However, Microsoft is actively considering other problems, such as how to position the consumer 16-bit Windows OS Millennium project and Windows CE in the marketplace.
Microsoft also promoted Bob Muglia to group vice president of the Business Productivity Group. Muglia is in charge of productivity software, such as Microsoft Office and Microsoft BackOffice products, and related productivity appliances, such as handheld PCs (H/PCs). Other changes in the Business Productivity Group include new Senior Vice President Steven Sinofsky, who runs the Microsoft Office group; new Senior Vice President Paul Gross, who heads up Server Applications; and Vice President Brian MacDonald, who is in charge of New Application Technologies. Microsoft has also created the Small Business Division to focus on e-commerce and other services for small business.
The company promoted David Cole to senior vice president in charge of the new Consumer Services Division. This division concentrates on developing communication and collaboration services and advancing consumer Internet access. In addition, Microsoft realigned and renamed the Consumer and Commerce Group under Vice President Rick Belluzzo. Now called the Consumer Group, Belluzzo's group includes Vice President Hank Vigil's Consumer Strategy and Partnerships Division; Vice President Robbie Bach's Home and Retail Division; and Senior Vice President David Cole's Consumer Services Division.
In January 2000, Microsoft announced that Bill Gates has taken on the new role of chairman and chief software architect and confirmed Steve Ballmer's promotion to president and CEO. This change affirms Microsoft's confidence in Ballmer's leadership and moves Gates into a visionary role.