Microsoft launches biggest internal overhaul to boost competitiveness

In its biggest internal overhaul in five years Microsoft Corp aims to streamline development of products from Windows to tablets, in bid to catch up with nimbler rivals in mobile and cloud computing.

Innovation in the $74 billion giant revenue with a workforce of 98,000 has suffered due to slack coordination and infighting. The move is aimed at accelerating the design of products that appeal to a new generation of users more comfortable with smartphones and tablets than laptops or desktop PCs.

Development of Windows would now be handled by one group headed by Terry Myerson. Myerson earlier focused only on Windows Phone and has now been tasked with the responsibility of tailoring the flagship operating software for devices ranging from the traditional PC to tablets and gaming consoles.

Julie Larson-Green, previously the co-chief of the main Windows division, would now have oversight of a new division charged with all hardware devices, from the Surface tablet to the Xbox.

Most senior managers have how been assigned new roles following the reorganisation, which does not include any major new hires.

The moves are aimed at realigning the company that helped revolutionise the personal computing industry in the 1980s into what chief executive Steve Ballmer called a "devices and services" corporation, in a reference to Apple Inc, which had surpassed it in profit and market value in past years.

Eight years back Ray Ozzie, the former top software strategist at Microsoft, attempted to steer the company in the direction of internet services, warning that the rise of companies like Google threatened to overturn its software supremacy.

Also it is seven years since chief executive Steve Ballmer spoke of focusing on hardware devices in view of developments in the field, at the time of the release of the ill-fated Zune digital music player that was supposed to take on Apple's iPod.

However it is only in recent months that Ballmer has sought to devise a broad internal response to the radical changes in the technology world as it moved towards mobile devices and internet service markets dominated by companies like Apple and Google.

According to commentators, yesterday's announcement of a thorough reorganisation at the software company around devices and services marked a belated attempt to pull down organisational barriers while overcoming deep-seated processes and cultural forces that kept Microsoft from responding swiftly to changes in its markets.

They say creating a new cadre of senior executives focused on technology constituted an important step in refocusing the company and making it more responsive opportunities and changes.