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Microsoft announces minor restructuring

The giant merges its Windows operating system and software developer divisions as part of its revised Web focus.

Microsoft today announced a minor restructuring to help it craft a new generation of Internet-based software and services.

The company said it has merged its Windows operating system and software developer divisions as part of its revised Web focus.

The combined entity will meld Microsoft's operating system division with a unit that makes an array of e-commerce software products, a spokeswoman said. The software developer division includes Microsoft's popular Visual Studio tools and the SQL Server database software.

Today's announcement may be part of Microsoft's strategy to preserve Windows as the dominant operating system in the market, as computing begins to move away from desktop computers and toward more Internet-based alternatives, such as wireless devices. The company announced the new strategy, dubbed "Next Generation Windows Services," in January.

Microsoft is facing new challenges from Web-based devices, alternative operating systems such as Linux, and alternative programming models that use the Java programming language.

The software giant today said Jim Allchin, group vice president of the Windows division, and Paul Maritz, group vice president of the developer division, will work together in the new division. Maritz will be in charge of strategizing and planning, and Allchin will oversee the building of software products.

With the reorganization, the Microsoft spokeswoman said the company will have three divisions. The other two divisions are consumer products and a business products division that includes the Windows CE operating system and the Microsoft Office software suite.

The company also formed new groups within the divisions called "Solutions Groups" that will focus on making sure customers' needs are met. The groups will work with the marketing and product groups within the divisions, the spokeswoman said.

Microsoft also created an umbrella marketing group that will focus on the company's marketing and public relations. Mich Mathews, formerly Microsoft's vice president of corporate communications, will run the new group.