Channel Watch

On the Theme of Executive Change in Microsoft

The upper levels of Microsoft's org chart have been a hive of activity in recent months, from CEO Steve Ballmer's retirement announcement to an executive shakeup in the channel group. RCP's October issue goes behind the changes -- what they are, and what they mean for partners.

Occasionally in publishing, events completely swamp your editorial plans. breaking news happens, planned stories get replaced late in the process and themes of the news force a completely different focus for an issue from the editorial lineup that seemed solid just weeks earlier.

That's the case with this issue. When we sent our "Meet the New Bosses" feature to the presses in mid-August for the September issue, we thought that would be close to the last word on the subject of the 2013 executive shakeup at Microsoft. CEO Steve Ballmer had been rumored to be working on that major reorg for months, and it involved mainly the product engineering groups. Meanwhile, the Worldwide Partner Conference -- the usual stage for Microsoft introducing partner leadership changes -- had passed without incident.

Since then Microsoft executives have been changing seats in a frantic game of musical chairs. The action starts at the top with Ballmer announcing he'll retire by next summer, if not earlier. (Incidentally, that little nugget guarantees that no one who recently earned a new job in Redmond is assured they'll be staying there past the end of Ballmer's tenure.)

The Microsoft executive shakeup is the newly emergent theme of this month's issue. Here's a quick guide to articles where you'll find details and insights about the changes:

Am I complaining? Not at all. A lot of us got into journalism for the thrill of making sense of fast-changing events. That's not too different from the reason a lot of you have told me you got into the technology business -- constant change and excitement and the ability to help customers make the most of it. Check out our rich, executive-change-themed issue, then let me know what you think it all means. You can reach me at sbekker@rcpmag.com, or you can leave a comment below.

One final note: I'd like to wish a fond farewell to Jon Roskill, whom Sorgen is replacing. Jon is a genuinely nice, thoughtful and smart guy, who understood that the channel chief role was a two-way street. Yes, he delivered Microsoft's marching orders to the channel, but he also took channel concerns back up the management chain at Microsoft and advocated for the needs of partners.

More Columns by Scott Bekker:

About the Author

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