Microsoft has launched another major restructuring that will see the software giant focus its efforts less on the Windows operating system, and more on the cloud and AI going forward.

The reorganisation was outlined in an email from CEO Satya Nadella, also revealed the departure of long-time Microsoft veteran, Terry Myerson, who had been in charge of Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group.

The latest restructuring comes just nine months after a previous restructuring, that focused more on massive redundancies as Redmond sought to better position its sales, marketing and customer support teams to sell and support cloud apps and services.

Latest restructuring

The new change however continues to build on Nadella’s focus on the cloud and artificial intelligence (AI).

“Over the past year, we have shared our vision for how the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge will shape the next phase of innovation,” wrote Nadella in an email to staff.

“First, computing is more powerful and ubiquitous from the cloud to the edge,” he wrote. “Second, AI capabilities are rapidly advancing across perception and cognition fuelled by data and knowledge of the world. Third, physical and virtual worlds are coming together to create richer experiences that understand the context surrounding people, the things they use, the places they go, and their activities and relationships.”

Nadella said that with this change comes transition, and he revealed that Terry Myerson is leaving Microsoft.

Myerson had been in charge of Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group, which oversaw product R&D for the Windows and Windows Server operating systems, as well as Surface devices, the Xbox and the HoloLens AR headset.

Myerson had also been in charge of Redmond’s failed Windows Phone push.

“With change comes transition, and one transition we have been planning for is for Terry Myerson to pursue his next chapter outside Microsoft,” wrote Nadella. “Terry has been instrumental in helping me arrive at this new organisational structure, and I deeply appreciate his leadership and insight as we’ve worked through the opportunity that lies ahead.”

Executive changes

Myerson’s departure signals Nadella’s continued push to make the Windows operating system less central to Microsoft’s ambitions in the years ahead.

On the Devices side, Panos Panay will now serve as Chief Product Officer. On the Windows side, Joe Belfiore will continue leading this unit.

Kudo Tsunoda will remain in charge of New Experiences and Technology, and Brad Anderson will remain in charge of Enterprise Mobility and Management.

Rajesh Jha will expand his existing responsibilities to lead a new team focused on Experiences & Devices, with the aim of delivering a unifying product ethos across end-user experiences and devices.

Scott Guthrie will expand his existing responsibilities to lead a new team focused on Cloud + AI Platform.

Jason Zander has been promoted to executive vice president, Azure, and will lead this team. Harry Shum will continue to lead Microsoft third’s engineering team, AI + Research.

Nadella also revealed that Microsoft is creating an AI ethics unit headed up by Harry Shum and Microsoft president and leading lawyer Brad Smith. This unit will be responsible for ensuring that Microsoft’s “AI platform and experience efforts are deeply grounded within Microsoft’s core values and principles and benefit the broader society.”

That should help allay the concerns of the late Stephen Hawking, as well as Elon Musk, about the potential for AI to do harm.

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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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