Good bye Jeff Raikes.
Raikes did a great job at Microsoft and in the unified communications space he should be commended for rolling out a slew of strong products and doing a fantastic PR and marketing job promoting them. He will be retiring from Microsoft soon.
Microsoft is an interesting animal in that they are so large that sometimes I think they are too big to get things accomplished quickly but at the same time they surprised me by rolling out good products in the unified communications space in a relatively short amount of time. They also got a large group of partners to buy in and simultaneously promoted these products very well via extremely effective marketing and public relations campaigns.
Unlike many companies in the communications space who change marketing strategies virtually every quarter, Microsoft has stayed consistent with message. They really understand marketing better than the typical communications or tech company.
Stephen Elop the former COO of Juniper Networks will be replacing Raikes and there is much speculation about why Microsoft did not look internally to fill this position. There are ideas floating around that the bench at Microsoft is not deep. When I read this stuff I wonder if these writers have actually been to Microsoft’s campus and whether they have met the people that work there.
There is a very deep bench at Microsoft and there are a number of people who could lead Microsoft’s Enterprise Software division effectively.
I would say the biggest reason the company reached outside for new blood is because there needs to be someone who can take on Cisco more effectively. Let’s face it… Unified Communications is set to be a huge growth area for Microsoft over the next five years and who better to lead this push than someone who slugs it out with the networking leader on a daily basis?
In Elop, Microsoft has found someone who knows how to run a company successfully but more importantly has spent a good amount of time competing against a company that is larger and with deeper pockets. Microsoft has hired an executive who can hopefully bring a new culture to Redmond as the world’s largest software company has to fight a war with a slew of social networking, web 2.0 and of course, SaaS companies.
The battle Microsoft faces these days in the enterprise space has to consider both hardware and software vendors and Cisco and Google are at the top of the list. Who better than someone from Juniper to help them win this battle?
Of course the downside to this move is morale issues associated with not reaching inside the company. Still, if Elop is successful, hopefully an increasing stock price will keep all at Microsoft happy.