Microsoft is separating its Windows and Devices group as part of a corporate reorganization. That's why 21-year-old Microsoft veteran and executive vice president Terry Myerson is leaving the company.
Must read: So (and why) does Microsoft dismantle Windows in its latest reorg | Windows boss Myerson at Microsoft reorganization
Myerson became head of the Windows and Devices group in 2013. Since then he has directed 17,000 engineers. Microsoft is now approaching 700 million active users of Windows 1
In his e-mail to company employees, Myerson said he had discussed his departure with CEO Satya Nadella "for some time". He said his next priorities would be to train for a half Ironman, play piano or guitar, learn more about genomics and robotics, and spend more time with his family.
Here's Myerson's March 29 message to Microsoft employees (which Microsoft also on LinkedIn):
Thanks for 21 years and the next chapter …
It's an emotional day for me, if I want to start my next chapter outside of Microsoft in a few months. Satya and I have been discussing this for some time, but today it's getting real. It was an incredibly intense experience to share the news with the team, customers and partners. Microsoft has been my work, my team and my goal for 21 years.
The decision comes with many reflections and special memories of the last two decades. With a blog like this I can hopefully share some lessons and my continued enthusiasm for Microsoft.
It's surreal to look back on how it all began. I remember meeting Bill Gates in 1996 when Microsoft evaluated the purchase of Intersé, one of the earliest Internet companies I founded in 1994 with Midori Chan and Ed Hott. During our meeting, I remember the whiteboard and explained how we can deduce it from a user's path through a website based on the URLs in the web page traffic logs (ok, that may sound very basic now, but back then far advanced!). I remember talking to Bill about how Caching influenced the logs. I remember that we both drank "free" diet coke. I loved the discussion. I could not believe that the CEO would go into details at this level. Our discussion really got me into the team, and it was the beginning of my love to develop great software with the people of Microsoft. It is incredible to believe that of the ~ 20 people who joined Microsoft from Intersé in March 1997, five are still here (including Midori and Ed, and Harvinder Bhela, who runs Windows today, and Rajesh Potti, a developer from Office 365).
It's hard to believe I met Satya on my first day at Microsoft when we worked together on Site Server. I vividly remember taking part in a Seattle Mariners game in the late '90s as he talked to me about his son and his medical challenges. I grew up a bit that day. It's amazing what he's done as CEO. I believe in the strategy and vision that the company is pursuing and in the leadership team that enables it.
Becoming a big company after being the CEO of a startup is certainly an adaptation. I moved from Silicon Valley to Seattle. My title changed from "CEO" to "Product Unit Manager". I had a boss. But wow, Microsoft has opened the world for me. I left the country for the first time in my life and talked to our customers in Europe, Australia, Africa and Asia. My development team grew to over 100 people. I did not have to worry about real estate or health care. A team of people helped with the recruitment. Microsoft provided an environment and resources to dream big, like I've never experienced before. I was excited.
Shortly after meeting at a volunteer event for Seattle Works, I met Katie. She taught 1st grade for English as a second language. She was so honest, smart, beautiful and funny. Lucky for me, she finally agreed to be my wife.
After Site Server, Perry Clarke convinced me to join him in the exchange team. For the next 8 years, Exchange became my destination. I've learned so much from being a leader and running a big software business during that time. It's crazy to look back at the Exchange team I joined, with a tightly coupled server design on site, a low percentage of Lotus Notes, and sales of less than $ 500 million. Over the next 8 years, we've built the beginnings of today's Office 365 cloud solution, become the leader in enterprise communications, and grew the business to over $ 2B.
Katie and I had all three of our children while working at Exchange. I will always love the Exchange team, customers and partners. Some of the great people I worked with during those years were Dave Thompson, Jason Mayans, Vivek Sharma, Karim Batthish, Vanessa Feliberti, Mike Swafford, Naresh Sundaram, Jim Kleewein, David Lemson, Russ Simpson, Jim Van Eaton, Jon Avner and Ian Jose. Exchange 2003 was codenamed Titanium (aka Ti), and in my office today my wall has a picture of the Exchange team in the fields in front of our building.
Looking Back at My Biggest Findings from Exchange, Focusing on Biggest Lessons How to make a great engineering team work well together by using feedback loops to generate intensity and energy, aligning the team to a common timeline, to a good one Creating integrated work, and the need for consistent communication with a large group of people keep you all in sync.
Then came October 2008. About a year ago, just before the launch of the iPhone, I personally participated in the negotiation of the Exchange ActiveSync license with Apple. I wore a 2007 v1 iPhone (which I still have in my office today). I was a definite lover of smartphones and I knew how important they would be. Providing mobile connectivity was a focus of Exchange. Android launched this September. But the liveliest I remember on Friday was when Andy Lee and Robbie Bach asked me to run Windows Mobile. I knew we had so much work on our Windows Mobile support with no no-app store. I was honored and more than a little scared. 10 days later, my office moved across the campus.
The experience with Windows Phone has been incredibly difficult and much has been written about it – but in retrospect, I am so proud to have been part of the team. It was during this time that I worked closely with the current Windows leaders Henry Sanders, Joe Belfiore, Darren Laybourn, Bill Duff, Carlos Picoto, Chuck Friedman, Linda Norman, Chadd Knowlton, Richard Ward, KC Lemson, Erin Kolb and Albert Shum worked together. We have renewed the user experience in the phone. We had innovative plans for the business model that never came to light. We worked hard. Very hard. But the industry was moving faster than we could catch up.
When the # 1 seeded UVA basketball team retired from the tournament a few weeks ago in the first round, my intersector and UVA Amal Ed Hott posted a famous teddy on Roosevelt quote to his Facebook feed. Today, after the experiences of everyone in the Windows Phone team talking, this quote is well received.
Looking back on this phase of my career, my greatest success has been that success requires a special composition of the business model. User experience and technology. We had a differentiated experience, but it is in hindsight so clear that the disruption of the business model that Android represented was enormous and that building our early versions of Windows Phone on an incomplete Windows CE platform designed for small embedded systems
Then came spring 2013. At that time, Windows Phone was relatively fine despite the competitive challenges in the phone market (which led us to Nokia …) Ironically, our biggest challenges at the time were on the legendary franchises of Windows (Windows 8) and Xbox. While meeting with Steve Ballmer on a Saturday in his office, he asked me to run Xbox, Windows and Windows Phone – and an incredible incubation now known as HoloLens. I was honored and honored to lead over 17,000 engineers and generate more than $ 40 billion and $ 5 billion in revenue – but we had some real challenges. Over the next few months, we made a few hard prioritization calls and made a multiyear commitment to look for it. Refocusing a team of Microsoft engineers, concentrating on a multiyear journey full of technical innovation is an unforgettable sight. It's one of the purest expressions of Microsoft's ability to create. Today, I'm very proud of the big brands Windows 10, Xbox One and the Surface family of devices that we've developed together.
Panos Panay, Phil Spencer, Alex Kipman, Roanne Sones, Dave Treadwell, Mike Fortin, Eric Lockard, Kudo Tsunoda, Nick Parker, Brad Anderson, Don Box, Gabe Aul, Kevin Dallas, Stevie Bathiche, Brett Ostrum, Yusuf Mehdi , Ilan Spillinger, Linda Averett, Mike Zbarel, Mike Ybarra, David Hufford, Kareem Choudhry, Chuck Chan, Bonnie Ross, Matt Booty, Lydia Winters and so many other leaders stand out from me during this phase of my journey.
On my wall next to the Exchange team will always be a picture of our windows and devices crew. Back on the field (a much larger field than we used for Exchange!) In the 12th Man's configuration to assist the Seattle Seahawks as they set off for the Superbowl in 2014.
A few weeks after we took this picture, Satya became CEO
One of my favorite things about running Windows was the Windows fans. Through good and bad times, I loved your feedback. I loved your passion for our work. I loved your applause when we did a great job, and I loved the urge to do it better. One of my most profound experiences from my Exchange days was the importance of this feedback loop with customers and fans. That's why we've created the Windows Insider program so we can build Windows 10 based on your feedback. With 15 million members you make our product and our team better every day. Many Thanks.
Today we are approaching 700 million active Windows 10 users, with commercial usage growing 84% yoy, Xbox One running a Windows 10 core, Surface being the leading PC innovation, HoloLens bringing breakthroughs to Computer Vision, our universal Microsoft Store enables Xbox GamePass, Azure Reserved Instances and Office Sales, and the OEM ecosystem is revitalized with profitable growth. Last year, we closed the year with an operating profit of more than $ 8 billion from our segment.
There are many lessons to be learned from the honor of running Windows, but three seem to me truly consistent today:
Technology can really empower people to do great things. This may sound like a soundbite, but in recent years I've felt it in a new and meaningful way, making me an optimist about our future. In so many other ways, Windows has been a platform to study basic human creativity, how students will learn in the future, how surgeons can operate in the future, and how blind people can use their device without a display  is in your team. The passion, commitment and sheer brilliance of Microsoft employees have inspired me for 21 years. I'm so proud of the teams I was allowed to lead. Windows has taught me to appreciate that some of my best teammates are at other companies like Intel, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Asus, Acer, AMD, Qualcomm, Samsung, Best Buy, Adobe, Autodesk, Activision, Electronic Arts and so many others , We have worked together to drive the industry forward and give opportunity to so many people along the way.
Have fun with it. My Microsoft trip has included some challenging days, but I hardly remember them. When I look at a photo collection today, I see so many self-deprecating moments when our guides really had fun. I disguised myself as a Big Bird, a Clown (a few times), Captain Kirk (twice) and Santa. I was (a few times) thrown into a lake. I disguised myself as William Wallace of Braveheart and rode a live horse into a team meeting (once). I laughed so much that I cried (many times). I will cherish these memories of pure fun with the team as much as anything I take from my 21 years at Microsoft.
So, after my full-time job, almost continuously since I was 18, I miss many kiddies during work. I'm ready for a break. I'll take some time now to train for a half Ironman, learn to play the piano or guitar (my daughter chooses guitar), but after playing the piano with Joe Belfiore and Chuck Friedman on so many late nights, I rest up this way), learn more about genomics and robotics that fascinate me, and spend an overdue time with Katie and our children. I could not shy away from the support Katie showed me while giving everything to Microsoft, and now I'm excited to spend some time together.
Looking back, I remember a certain thing a few years ago when I was walking around the campus with the young founders of Beam, who we recently took over (to help create the Xbox mixer!) go. That afternoon, I felt like I was walking with my younger self, going to Microsoft with limitless enthusiasm and doing great things. It was inspiring to welcome these incredible people, a new generation at Microsoft. I now see the same energy and enthusiasm at Microsoft – a sure sign of even bigger and more amazing things that will come for this company.
Leaving me has many emotions. But I'm mostly full of gratitude and optimism – gratitude for the experiences I've made and optimism for the future – for both Microsoft and myself.
ps. I am editing this post today, one day before I will publish. I'm sitting next to Bill Gates, both of us drinking a "free" diet coke provided by Microsoft. This is my last planned meeting as Head of Windows and Devices at Microsoft. My team discusses with him the future of Project Rome and Windows Timeline. A great bookend for 21 amazing years with Microsoft.
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