Microsoft COO Bob Herbold has confirmed plans for a massive reorganization of the company, as reported earlier in WinInfo. The reorg is expected "in the near future," he says, though he won't go into any detail. The plan will split the company into four customer-related groups, breaking the current product-based system now used by Microsoft. The groups are expected to include consumers, developers, enterprise, and "knowledge workers," a nebulous term that will encompass Microsoft Office and related business applications.

The reorganization was put on hold for over a month while Microsoft waited on Brad Silverberg's decision to return to the company. Silverberg has reportedly turned down that offer, however, so the plan to move forward will do so without him. Silverberg, who spearheaded Microsoft's wildly successful Windows 95 launch, essentially left the company because of its decision to bundle Internet Explorer with Windows. And though many people expected him to head a new Windows group, Microsoft actually wanted him to head a consumer-oriented group that would have consisted largely of Internet applications including, ironically enough, Internet Explorer.

While Microsoft has been lauded in the past for moving nimbly into new markets such as the Internet, a recent groundswell of problems--including delays with a massive Windows 2000 upgrade and the company's poor performance in court--has left many wondering whether the software giant has lost its edge. Comparisons to IBM notwithstanding, Microsoft's ability to reorganize effectively will be a major barometer of its success for the next few years