The timing of this is interesting, because Microsoft is right now hosting more than 16,000 attendees at its Worldwide Partners Conference in Houston. That conference is for people who make a living selling Microsoft’s products, otherwise known as value-added-resellers (VARs) or the channel.
Microsoft is facing increasing competition in every direction and needs its channel to be on board with the company’s new directions.
The changes will reportedly allow Ballmer to remake the company around “devices” and “services.” Reports so far suggest that four executives could gain a lot more power: Skype president Tony Bates, Server and Tools chief Satya Nadella, Windows Phone software chief Terry Myerson, and Windows chief Julie Larson-Green.
Swisher’s sources also say that Online Services leader Qi Lu will win, maybe getting Microsoft Office added to his unit. He’s currently in charge of the Bing search service. Windows CFO and CMO Tami Reller could also move up the ranks with a bigger role in marketing.
It’s unclear what will happen to Microsoft Office’s current top guy Kurt DelBene.
Besides the exec shake-up, sources tell Swisher that Ballmer might drastically change the way Microsoft reports its quarterly financials, possibly even reporting everything as one big profit and loss unit, instead of breaking out different groups.
This would protect slow-growing or struggling groups from Wall Street scrutiny but it would be a shame. Microsoft has been giving investors some of the most straight-forward financial reporting in the software industry.
Still if these moves can help Microsoft move faster to in a post-PC world, investors will win in the long run.
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