As predicted previously in WinInfo, Microsoft Corporation has announced a stunning corporate reorganization that divides the company into five new divisions. Four of these divisions were widely known previously, but the fifth, a Consumer Windows division, came as a surprise. This joins Business Productivity, Business and Enterprise, Developer, and Consumer and Commerce. Jim Allchin will head the Business and Enterprise group, Bob Muglia will head the Business Productivity group, Paul Maritz will lead the Developer group, and Brad Chase and Jon DeVaan will co-head the Consumer and Commerce group. Robbie Bach will head the Windows Consumer division.

Microsoft president Steve Ballmer, who announced the reorganization in a press conference call at 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time, said that the changes should not be construed to suggest any impending break-up of the company.

"There is no break-up of the company into smaller companies that I would find acceptable, and we're certainly not thinking of that as a possibility," Ballmer said.

Microsoft CEO Bill Gates agrees.

"The kind of alignments we do relate to competition but \[the reorg\] has nothing to do with any lawsuit," Gates said. "Looking to the future, our vision is much more expansive. We see a world where people can use any computing device to do whatever they want to do anytime, anywhere. The PC will continue to have a central role in this future, but it will be joined by an incredibly rich variety of digital devices accessing the power of the Internet."

The company says that the new reorganization is designed to segregate Microsoft's business activities into customer-centered groups:

  • Business and Enterprise Division: Focuses on the information technology needs of large organizations.
  • Consumer Windows Division: Focuses on improving Windows for the end user. It will also focus on consumer-targeted products such as games, input devices and Microsoft's reference products.
  • Business Productivity Group: Focuses on the needs of the so-called "knowledge worker," who is on the road and always in need of their data.
  • Developer Group: Focuses on helping developers who write software for all Microsoft platforms.
  • Consumer and Commerce Group: Works to make it easier for customers and businesses to get together online.
Microsoft also spelled out its key priorities for the coming months. First on the list is making Windows 2000 more scalable, reliable, and available, while simplifying the product and lowering its Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), major concern for the corporate set to which this operating system is aimed. Pervasive information availability, specifically for traveling knowledge workers, is also high on the list. Microsoft is also looking to the future, where a new generation of PCs and non-PC devices will offer Internet access and other services with a much friendlier interface. Microsoft sees the Internet as the "ultimate marketplace" for all users, regardless of the types of devices they choose to use.

"This new structure is part of the reinvention of Microsoft," said Ballmer."

"We want to give people the power, connectivity and the ability to choose how they want to use computing in their lives," Gates said