Muglia exodus a head scratcher, bloggers say

In Microsoft Corp.’s decision to find a new leader for its server business, effectively parting ways with current server chief Bob Muglia, has left some industry watchers (and a former employee) puzzled.

ITWriting blogger Tim Anderson said that not only is Muglia widely considered one of the most “articulate and confident” executives at the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant, but his Server and Tools business has been one of the most consistent financial performers for the company.

“In this context, it seems surprising that Ballmer is in search of ‘new and different talent,’” he wrote. “It does sound as if Ballmer and Muglia do not see the future of the cloud business — which is the focus of the memo — in the same way.”

ZDNet blogger Mary Jo Foley disagreed on the claim that Muglia wasn’t on-board with Microsoft’s increasing emphasis on the cloud.

“Muglia’s been championing private and public cloud products and services from the company, and has done a lot to guide Microsoft’s ‘All In’ transition, from my vantage point,” she wrote.

Don Dodge, a former Microsoft tech evangelist who moved on to Google after getting axed by Microsoft two years ago, wrote on his personal blog that the change in direction would lead to “serious impacts” for Microsoft.

“Losing a seasoned exec like Bob Muglia is a big, but recoverable loss,” he wrote. “Losing Muglia, Robbie Bach, Steve Elop, Ray Ozzie, Chris Liddell, Kevin Johnson, Jeff Raikes, and other senior execs is devastating. The effects aren’t visible yet. It takes years to unfold.”

He added that these departures — particularly the Ray Ozzie move — should leave Microsoft scrambling to find a future leader for company.

“The bigger questions are who will lead the vision for the future, and who will be ready to succeed Steve Ballmer when the time comes,” he wrote. “Ray Ozzie was a talented visionary and architect of the future. Bill Gates selected Ray Ozzie as his successor as Chief Software Architect. But they are both gone.”

“Who else at Microsoft has the gravitas and vision to lead the product direction for entire company? This is probably the single most important job in the company over the long term. Yet, Ballmer has already stated he will not replace Ozzie or fill the position. Hmmm….”

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