I’m not surprised to see that Jon and Grant are leaving Microsoft, though I don’t know that this constitutes “wrath” on the part of Terry Myerson. More on that in another post. Now just a few comments on Jon and Grant.
I interacted with Jon a little in his time in Online Services and then we worked together extensively (on Quests) when he was running the Core OS group during Windows 7. Steven Sinofsky got the public credit for how good Windows 7 is, but most of the improvement that you see (over Vista) is because of Jon. The quality improvements, the focus on improving memory usage and boot time, bringing the relationship with OEMs on OS support back from the dead, etc. are Jon. Even the Service Pack work that made Vista usable is Jon. I’ve rarely found executives in our industry that were as devoted to producing great software as Jon.
I can’t recall if Jon was a VP when I joined Microsoft, but if not he became one soon thereafter. It seemed like all of his peer executives left Microsoft long ago, and ever since the online services days I wondered if Jon would “retire” after completing a particular project. This was especially true after Windows 7 and then Windows 8, but in each case it appears there was another big thing that interested him enough to continue on. So I’m not surprised that a reorg that left him searching for something that would make staying at Microsoft worthwhile would lead to his leaving. Or, was it some indication from Jon that he wanted to leave part of the trigger for Terry’s reorg decisions? We may never know.
I never worked with Grant though we met back in the 90s when we were teammates as part of one of Microsoft’s leadership development offsites. Grant lead the two largest and most critical test organizations in his career at Microsoft, and the results were obvious to any observer. The quality of Office and then Window 7 and 8/8.1 were outstanding. With my limited visibility I’d say Microsoft has lost a great test leader. But it is also clear that having lead the organizations he did there were likely no roles of similar scope available in the current org structure.
With the departure of Jon and Grant Microsoft has lost a significant portion of its senior leadership talent. This may be a natural part of the evolution of the company, but that doesn’t make it any less sad. I wish them both well in their future endeavors.