Tag: management

Microsoft does some more management shuffling

The shy and retiring Microsoft executive Steve “there’s a kind of hush” Ballmer only just left the building, but someone is already reshuffling his staff.

New broom Satya Nadella has been playing musical chairs at the Volehill.

Tony Bates and Tami Reller, will leave the company while a former Clinton family aide Mark Penn will become its chief strategy officer.

Penn will get a bigger hand in determining which markets Microsoft should be in and where it should be making further investments.

In the Ballmer days, Penn was an executive vice president at Microsoft overseeing advertising and strategy.

Bates is the former Skype CEO who was in charge of Microsoft’s business development, will leave immediately. He was our favourite as a potential CEO candidate to succeed Steve Ballmer because we planned to call him Master Bates throughout his term of office. No word about what his cunning plan is.

Eric Rudder who had the appropriate title of “head of advanced strategy,” will temporarily take up Bates’ duties and marketing executive Chris Capossela will replace Reller, the report said.

Reller, one of the few female executives at the company and co-head of Microsoft’s Windows unit, will remain with the company for some time to help with the transition.

The plans were leaked by loyal staff at the Redmond Vole Hill. Nadella told staff of the changes on Friday and the company plans to announce them publicly on Tuesday. 

LG makes product cuts and management changes

LG’s Display arm has decided to try and patch up its failing business, promising to reform “everything to the bone.”

LG, formerly known as Lucky Goldstar,  hasn’t had an easy time of it lately, posting losses of $158 million (178 billion won) in the first three months of this year.

In a bid to boost its failing financial sheets the company has now decided to overhaul its management structure and also make some changes to its product offerings.

It has decided to scrap its mobile organic light-emitting diode (OLED) division, which was launched in June of 2008, while its two top products – LCDs for mobile handsets and OLEDs – have been split and given to two existing divisions.

And it’s more work for other divisions with the company’s LCD business being given to the IT Division which is also in charge of panels for monitors on laptop and tablets.

The rest of the OLED business has been given to newly promoted CTO Yeo Sang-duk, who formerly headed the mobile OLED.

LG said many of the moves it is making is to “boost tension across the firm”, which it hopes will add “competitiveness” amongst its key workers.

However, many won’t be fortunate enough to see the changes, with the company also reportedly laying off around 100 staff, according to sources at the Joongang Daily.

High level professionals avoid Britain like the plague

Top execs don’t want to stay in Britain.

That’s the latest finding from career and recruitment service Experteer, which has surveyed its senior-level professionals and found that there’s not much to keep them in the UK.

Over 70,000 of its senior level professionals switched jobs in the 12 months before 2011, and 15 percent of them went abroad. It’s a trend that has continued since the global recession reared its ugly head in 2008.

In the past year, says Experteer, 26 percent of execs in the UK left for a different country. That’s compared with seven percent in Germany, Italy and Spain. According to the survey, Britain is the second biggest exporter of talent just behind central and eastern Europe.

The jobwatchers say it’s no surprise considering the dire nature of the domestic market in old Blighty – the economic recession is leaning hard on everyone, including senior execs whose paycheques aren’t as fat as tehy’d like. Then there are other factors like living standards – with public sector spending cuts – and introducing the 50p top personal tax rate introduced in 2010.

Experteer says combined, it results in making the UK one of the last places execs would want to settle. That makes it less competitive internationally.

Senior level staff flocked for the most part to Germany. The second biggest lot to escape Cameron’s corral spent their air miles and avoided Europe altogether. Third place was France.

Switzerland managed to bring in the most imports of senior level professionals and is the most popular country for execs from Germany, France and outside the Eurozone.

15 percent less professionals decided to come to Britain, and a third were from outside Europe. Experteer notes that the biggest pay gap between high earners and low earners is in the UK.

Gentle Ballmer meekly suggests the competition is doomed

Modest Microsoft CEO, the shy and retiring Steve “There’s a Kind of Hush” Ballmer has displayed his usual understated charm at the Web 2.0 summit in San Francisco.

Speaking about mobile, the market Microsoft re-entered successfully after making a laughing stock of itself, Ballmer took a swipe with his clumsy bear paw in an attempt to knock Android and Apple off their pedestals.

He gave a nod to a competitor which was a “sea of icons” (read: Apple) and, Information Week reports, that Android is an operating system for “computer scientists”.

Ballmer gave no mention to the computer scientist’s OS of choice landing him and MSFT a hefty royalty cheque for each device sold.

Meanwhile, Google is being trounced in the cloud, according to the unassuming CEO.  He said Microsoft is “all in, baby” in cloud storage, not sounding too dissimilar from, say, the WWF’s Ultimate Warrior.  

Not only that, but Information Week reports he believes Microsoft is “winning, winning, winning” for applications in the cloud, at least 98 percent of the time.

What isn’t quite winning, winning, winning is Ballmer’s bonus. Again.

Crucially, Ballmer also confirmed that the expensive shopping trip to Skype’s headquarters was about the social web. AKA, Facebook

Dell prepares enterprise tablet with mobile services portfolio

Dell has announced a line-up of mobile business services in anticipation of the release of its upcoming business tablet.

Then Enterprise Mobility Services portfolio consists of strategic consulting, mobile device management, telecom expense management, custom application development, mobile enterprise application platform, and security and compliance.

The services include hardware, software, data centre storage, and communications technology, all of which are designed to lower costs, improve work efficiency and address security concerns, the latter of which is vital for the enterprise market.

Dell will support multiple carriers, vendors and platforms with the service and will provide a particular focus on smartphones and tablets, especially with its custom application development, which should cater for a variety of mobile operating systems.

Dell is working on a rival tablet to RIM’s PlayBook, which is expected to use an Intel Oak Trail Atom processor. Not much else is known about it other than it touting a 10-inch screen, but it’s likely many of these enterprise services will be offered with it.

Initially Dell’s Enterprise Mobility Services will only be available in North America and the UK, but there are plans to expand to Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Asia Pacific and Japan.

Microsoft planning management shakeup

Microsoft is planning a management shake-up that will concentrate on replacing many of its executives with fresh people who have an engineering background.

The changes are being sought by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, according to two unnamed sources close to Bloomberg Businessweek.

Ballmer has already been replacing people in the company, last month getting rid of its server division president, Bob Muglia, who had been with the company for 23 years. Ballmer said that the company needed new leadership in this area to focus on cloud computing, an area which is expected to boom over the next few years.

The changes in other key positions are likely to be in the smartphone and tablet sectors, areas which Microsoft arrived considerably late at after the success of Apple’s iPhone and iPad and Google’s Android platform. The appointments are expected to be made this month, although these plans were not intended to be public.

One of the reasons cited by the sources for the shake-up is mounting investor criticism, which has been focused on Microsoft slipping behind main rivals, particularly with Windows Phone 7, which received good critical reception but had a very late market entry. The dramatic failure of the Kin phone also received stern criticism from shareholders.

The focus on finding engineering people to fill the key positions suggests that Ballmer has lost faith in his marketing team. He already replaced Stephen Elop with Kurt DelBene, an engineering chief, instead of a marketing executive, which was widely expected.

The fact that an engineering background is a prerequisite for the positions suggests that Microsoft’s current management lacks this kind of knowledge to a degree, which rivals like Google and Apple have been using to push product lines. 

How about Steve himself? He’ll probably be clinging on.

Rackspace buys Cloudkick

Cloud computing firm Rackspace has today announced the acquisition of Cloudkick, a company that develops cloud server monitoring and management tools.

Rackspace currently has around 64,000 servers and 118,00 customers under its belt. The addition of Cloudkick will add an additional 1,500 customers to Rackspace’s client base, including Mozilla and National Instruments.

It will also significantly boost its presence in the cloud market, allowing it to better manage its own servers and provide a similar service for other cloud vendors.

The Cloudkick operation will become part of Rackspace’s managed cloud offering, which features Rackspace’s Fanatical Support, a service which is set to expand in 2011 with the addition of Fanatical Tools.

Rackspace has already had a partnership with Cloudkick in the past via the open source cloud project called OpenStack, which was founded by Rackspace and which Cloudkick is a member of.

The San Francisco-based Cloudkick was founded in January 2009. It launched a beta of its service in March of that year and came out of beta in January 2010. By October of this year it reached a million server subscriptions, which is likely to continue at an equally quick pace under Rackspace.

Financial details of the acquisition were not revealed.

IBM introduces Storwize V7000

IBM is letting loose a couple of storage products aimed squarely at workloads like transaction processing and realtime analytics.

One of them is the Storwize V7000. It is a midrange disk storage system which has been built for simplifying admin tasks like set-up and management. IBM claims it can reduce storage rack space by “up to 67 percent” compared with similar offerings. It has integrated software to keep storage efficiency top of the agenda, which IBM boasts will help free up clients from buying piece parts or making price and capability trade-offs. 

Included is IBM tech such as the System Storage Easy Tier software, which automatically moves the most active data – for example, payment transactions – over to solid-state drives to keep on top of priorities. Secondary, less urgent data is moved to more cost effective storage.

It’s got ProtecTIER technology, which IBM snapped up in 2008, which scratches out data duplicates. There’s also the XIV high end disk storage architecture it picked up in the same year, which keeps on top of intensive workloads. The V7000 system makes use of IBM’s information archive, combining disk and tape storage so that data is backed up long term.

Also out is the System Storage DS8800. IBM says it offers 40 percent faster performance than the 8700 according to in house testing. It has updated the SAN Volume Controller software, including Easy Tier, which it says offers an improved admin GUI with increased scalability.

IBM says it has enhanced its Tivoli v4.2 software as well, enhanced for midrange systems. The Systems Director Storage Control software is out too, which promises to manage storage, servers and networks through one interface.

IBM buys systems management company BigFix

IBM said that it will buy BigFix, a systems management and automation software company that it has been working with since 2009.

Big Blue hopes to increase its ability to offer businesses more intelligent management and automation of its security and compliance updates. 

BigFix is aimed at managing key functions like security, IT compliance, and energy and resource consumption, which IBM believes will compliment its existing efforts in those areas. 

BigFix allows distribution and management of anti-virus, anti-malware, direwall, and network access control software. It offers real-time reports of compliance status in a single view of all computers connected to the network and allows distribution of software to ensure compliance. BigFix can also be set to automatically configure and shut down computers overnight, saving potentially substantial amounts of power and money.

“BigFix automates some of the most time-intensive IT tasks across the most complex global networks, helping save organizations significant amounts of time, labor, and expense,” said Al Zollar, general manager of IBM Tivoli Software. “BigFix’s real-time visibility and control for globally distributed computing devices will complement IBM’s existing smarter data center offerings and strengthen our ability to build security into the fabric of the enterprise.”

BigFix was established in 1997 and has over 200 employees. It currently has over 700 business customers in a variety of sectors, including the federal, retail, entertainment, healthcare, education, and financial areas. SunTrust Bank uses the software on over 50,000 of its PCs and servers, showing how extensive its usage is. IBM will likely push for more companies to adopt BigFix now that it is under its wing.

The acquisition is expected to complete by the third quarter of this year. Financial details of the takeover were not revealed.