Windows marketing chief Brad Brooks announced his departure from Microsoft earlier this week, making him the latest in a string of executives to leave the company in recent months.But he says he’s leaving to focus on the future of computing, not because of any problem with Microsoft.
Brooks oversaw the Windows advertising campaign that kicked off in late 2008 as a response to Apple’s “I’m a Mac” ads, including the laptop hunter spots. He also helped reshape the company’s retail strategy to focus more on Windows and other Microsoft brands, instead of allowing the company to be buried beneath marketing messages from PC partners. This strategy culminated with Microsoft’s decision to open its own stores in 2009.
In a phone interview, Brooks said he was leaving for Juniper Networks because the move to cloud computing provides a huge opportunity for network vendors. As companies move to a world where applications are delivered over the Internet or a private network, there’s a lot of room to sell products that manage access to those networks and ease data transfer across them.
Brooks also said he knew a lot of people at Juniper — presumably including former Windows President Kevin Johnson, who left Microsoft in 2008 to become Juniper’s CEO — and because he wanted to move back to California where he grew up.
So has Microsoft missed the boat with tablets? Not according to Brooks, who believes there will be demand for full-featured Windows on touch screens, especially among enterprises concerned about issues like security and management.
It’s a good reminder that Microsoft still makes most of its money selling software to businesses, and thinks differently about Windows — which has to satisfy corporate IT departments as well as consumers — than Apple does about its products.
Brooks also said that the company’s retail stores are doing a great job improving customer satisfaction and engagement, but he isn’t sure if Microsoft is going to open a big wave of stores like Apple has done.