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Today, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer published a memo regarding a major internal reorganization at the company behind Windows, the Surface Tablet, and the Xbox franchise. The main thrust of the change is to ensure that the company has “one strategy,” and can be unified as “one Microsoft.”

To that end, Ballmer has dissolved the “collection of divisional strategies” that were formerly in place at the company and try to unify the different divisions into one, “single core strategy will drive us to set shared goals for everything we do,” he wrote.

“We will see our product line holistically, not as a set of islands,” continued Ballmer. “We will allocate resources and build devices and services that provide compelling, integrated experiences across the many screens in our lives, with maximum return to shareholders. All parts of the company will share and contribute to the success of core offerings, like Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox, Surface, Office 365 and our EA offer, Bing, Skype, Dynamics, Azure and our servers. All parts of the company will contribute to activating high-value experiences for our customers.”

In short, while the many divisions of Microsoft once functioned more or less independently of one another, with different goals, Ballmer’s new vision for the company is to try and unite all the divisions with a common direction. It makes a lot of sense when you look at the paths of its many projects and services: the new Windows 8 operating system is at its best when used with touch-enabled devices, meaning that the Surface tablet and Windows phones will work well with PCs. Moreover, Microsoft’s Cloud initiatives are hugely important to its PC, tablet, and phone services, while cloud-capabilities are one of the cornerstones of its Xbox One strategy. And The Xbox One is rumored to one day have the capability of running Windows 8 applications, while its second-screen tablet and phone app—SmartGlass—is set to play a far more important role in the console’s lifecycle.

From those examples alone, it’s easy to see how Ballmer has been laying the groundwork for a reorganization like this. Now that he’s making it official in terms of the way that the company is run, we’ll get to see whether or not it’s really going to work.


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