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Reorg: Muglia Takes a Step Up

Veteran Microsoft executive joins Redmond's presidents, sees growth opportunities on several fronts.

Bob Muglia, a veteran executive with experience throughout Microsoft's divisions in 21 years with the company, was named president of the Server & Tools Business.

"Other than games, I think I've kind of been involved in almost all of our product lines at one point in time or another," said Muglia in a Q&A posted on Microsoft's Web site to announce the January appointment. "I've had my ups and I've had my downs during that period, and I've hung in there."

The promotion gives Muglia, 49, a direct reporting relationship to CEO Steve Ballmer for a business unit that accounted for about $13 billion a year in revenues and is one of the most important sectors of Microsoft for solution providers and ISVs partners. On the other hand, Muglia has had Ballmer's ear for years with his lengthy service on the Senior Leadership Team, an inner circle of high-ranking Microsoft executives.

Muglia has run the Server & Tools Business (STB) since late 2005 with the title of senior vice president. The division has recorded 25 consecutive quarters of double-digit growth stretching back well before Muglia took it over, and STB was one of the few bright spots in Microsoft's most recent financial quarter.

When Muglia took the job in late 2005, he reported to Jim Allchin, then co-president of the Platform Products and Services Division with Kevin Johnson. Allchin has since retired and Johnson left the company over the summer. Muglia's business unit shifted to the Microsoft Business Division in 2007.

In an e-mail to Microsoft employees announcing the move, Ballmer wrote, "Bob has built a culture of getting things done and done right. He has championed some of our most important initiatives and helped us successfully face some of our most important competitive challenges."

Product Portfolio
Muglia is now one of several executives with the title of president at Microsoft, joining Stephen Elop, Microsoft Business Division; Qi Lu, Online Services Group; Robbie Bach, Entertainment and Devices Division; and Jean-Philippe Courtois, Microsoft International, among others.

His product portfolio contains many of the products that are critical to partner sales. It includes Microsoft Windows Server, SQL Server, Visual Studio, virtualization products, the System Center management products and the Forefront line of business security products. The only major billion-dollar-plus server products not under Muglia's supervision are Exchange and SharePoint, which fall under Elop's Business Division.

Over the last few years, Muglia championed Dynamic IT, a Microsoft initiative to upsell customers by improving the optimization and agility of their infrastructure.

He's also been the highest-ranking executive associated with Microsoft's virtualization efforts, especially the Hyper-V component of Windows Server.

Future Opportunities
In the Q&A on the Microsoft Web site, Muglia identified several areas where he thinks the biggest opportunities lie for Microsoft's STB in the next few years.

Highest on his list is an expansion in Microsoft's multi-billion-dollar database business. He positions SQL Server as a mature product and a strong value versus competition, especially Oracle Corp., in tough economic times. In a related field, Muglia views the "in-memory" technology Microsoft is developing into its business intelligence offerings as a game-changer that will bring high-end capabilities to more end users because of a lower price point.

While growth in Microsoft's database and business intelligence revenues would bring growth for partners already implementing solutions based on those technologies, another area where Muglia sees room for growth could require radical changes to partner business models.

"I think another big opportunity is services, and being able to take and use software to do things that today IT has to hire people to do repetitive tasks on. We've found-and again Exchange Online, SharePoint Online are a good example of this-that we can offer a great value to our customers, and provide them with those features and products through a service at a small fraction of what they would pay to run it themselves," Muglia said in the Q&A.

Muglia also looks to the economy as a reason that Microsoft's virtualization products could take off. "Virtualization and the opportunity for customers to lower their administrative costs, and lower the capital costs, and deliver a great set of IT capabilities at again a fraction of the cost-that's [a way customers can use technology to help out in the current economy,]" Muglia says.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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