Everyone else in the house apparently is still asleep, so I figure it’s a good time to write down some odds and ends!
I finally had a decent experience with Best Buy carrying Microsoft Surface. The store in Parker Colorado had a Surface-specific kiosk. It wasn’t the most attractive thing in the world, and its placement was odd (still in the mobile section, not with other tablets or PCs), but it seemed effective. People were stopping by and looking. And store associates from the PC department were taking people over to look at it. I stood around and listened to part of one conversation and found the sales rep doing a nice job of selling Surface. He was hindered by Best Buy’s security devices forcing him to explain how the hing works rather than show it. And they had none in stock, so the customer couldn’t have one for Christmas.
News came out that Craig Mundie was starting down the path to retiring from Microsoft and that Eric Rudder was picking up his responsibilities. There is nothing earth shattering about Craig leaving. People do retire you know! The impact of Craig’s departure is likely to be subtle in the short-term. Microsoft will lose its most important public policy/government interaction executive. Craig not only represented Microsoft, directly and through members of his organization, to governments he also operated as an influence on public policy-related matters into the product groups.
I want to thank Craig for a couple of interactions I had with him in my second stint at Microsoft. First of all, he was one of the primary senior executive proponents of DirectAccess. I have my doubts we would have made progress on DirectAccess, beyond its introduction, if not for Craig (and BobMu) keeping it front and center. Second, when I was looking at a substantial acquisition that would have launched Microsoft into another vertical (on the scale of its Healthcare efforts) Craig gave me invaluable advice.
I’m really happy to see Eric stepping up to take on a mainstream role again at Microsoft. Eric is by far one of the smartest people at the company. A lot of us thought he should have replaced Bill as CSA, or at least taken on the parts of the CSA role that Ray Ozzie wasn’t interested in. Eric has been relatively hidden from view for quite some time, pursuing an incubation effort and (perhaps) adding strategic insights into Senior Leadership Team discussions. What I expect from Eric in his new role is for changes in how incubation is pursued and greater visibility in the pursuit of central strategic initiatives. It will be easier for Eric to influence the product groups than it was for Craig. I expect Eric will largely leave MSR alone, or at most pressure them even a little more on technology transfer to the product teams.
The biggest question mark around the Craig to Eric transition is that much of what happens with this role is based on the personal interests of the executive. Microsoft’s efforts around Healthcare likely would not have happened without Craig’s strong interest in the area. Eric’s own interests will translate into somewhat different incubation priorities.
Ok, everyone is awake and waiting for me to stop blogging and get on with the day. So signing off for now.