Microsoft announced a massive reorganization of its business, bringing AI and its Azure cloud platform to the forefront of its focus. Part of this shift means splitting the core Windows team into different pieces. It’s a move that indicates Microsoft is going all-in on its cloud and AI platforms, while moving away from Windows as a stand-alone traditional software product.
Terry Myerson, a 21-year veteran of Microsoft and the executive vice president of the Windows and Devices Group, will leave the company. The group’s members will be divided into several new and expanding groups within Microsoft.
The Future of Windows as Part of Azure
As for Windows itself, it will not go away overnight. Instead, it’s being positioned as part of a wider focus of Microsoft’s business that includes its growing and profitable enterprise products such as the Azure cloud platform. It will no longer be the primary focus of Microsoft.
Jason Zander will be promoted to executive vice president, Azure and will lead the Azure team. The Windows platform team will join Zander’s team. Jason Zander will report to Scott Guthrie, who is expanding his role as the leader of the expanded Cloud and AI Platform Group.
“Windows platform is already a core part of Azure across both the cloud and edge, and this shift will enable us to accelerate our efforts to build a unified distributed computing infrastructure and application model,” Nadella wrote.
Office 365 and Windows
For consumers and small businesses that use Windows as part of their daily lives, very little is set to change in the short term. Windows, however, is being positioned as part of a larger Microsoft 365 product category that includes Windows, Office, and third-party applications and devices.
“The future of Windows is bright as we continue to innovate across new scenarios and device form factors, and more deeply connect to our Microsoft 365 offerings,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said.
This separate division, dubbed “Experiences and Devices” will be headed up by Rajesh Jha, who had previously lead Office. Its focus won’t be so much on Windows core, but on the shell and other end-user points of contact.
Additional Azure Announcements
This announcement is one of several big developments involving the Azure Cloud Platform. Earlier this week, Microsoft launched Serial Console, a console interface for virtual machines on its Azure platform. Serial Console will enable administrators to access virtual machines that have locked up or otherwise been rendered inaccessible due to misconfigurations or errors.
On March 30, Microsoft released the first availability zones for Microsoft Azure’s cloud computing regions. These Availability Zones have been available in preview mode, but can now be used by customers to run their workloads across multiple zones.
The first regions to have zones online include Iowa (US Central) and Paris (France Central), each containing three Availability Zones each.
Microsoft believes that these new zones will provide a 99.99% service-level agreement when virtual machines are running in two Availability Zones in the same region.
Liftr Index Impact
Microsoft’s announcements will undoubtedly have a small short-term impact on Azure’s Public Interest rating within the Liftr Index. It has been a big week for announcements and new releases for the platform.
In the long-term, however, the addition of Availability Zones and a promise of 99.99% SLA will set Microsoft up for a better overall reliability record.
Azure being on the forefront of Microsoft’s focus going forward is a good sign for anyone invested in the Azure platform. Microsoft is betting on Azure and its AI products as the future of the company, moreso than Windows had been dating back to Microsoft’s early years.