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Microsoft realigns software developer units

The software giant announces a corporate restructuring that coalesces several units related to software development into a new division.

    Microsoft announced a corporate restructuring Tuesday that coalesces several units related to software development into a new division.

    The Developer and Platform Evangelism Division will include Microsoft's software development tools, its Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) Web site, training courses, the corporate Web site and all marketing directed at programmers.

    The new division will become part of Microsoft's Platforms Group, which includes the Windows operating system and Microsoft's e-business software. Eric Rudder, previously vice president of Microsoft's technical strategy, will oversee the division and report to Jim Allchin, vice president of the Platforms Group.

    "This is Microsoft pulling together all the resources--marketing, tools, content and training--that apply to developers and IT professionals into a single organization," a company representative said.

    Tuesday's announcement is part of Microsoft's new .Net strategy to expand its Windows dominance to the Internet. Microsoft has been overhauling its products to make software available as a service over the Internet, as well as on handheld devices such as cell phones and personal digital assistants.

    But for Microsoft's new .Net strategy to take off, the company needs to convince software developers to support it by buying Microsoft's forthcoming new software development tools, called Visual Studio.Net and its family of e-business infrastructure software for building and running their applications.

    Microsoft's .Net strategy competes against the Java alternative strategy championed by the likes of Sun Microsystems, Oracle, IBM, BEA Systems and others. For the past several years, the two sides have worked to convince developers to write for their software.

    "This new organizational entity doesn't signify any fundamental change to Microsoft's already aggressive stance toward evangelizing to developers," Giga Information Group analyst Mike Gilpin said. "Microsoft has always been one of the best companies in the world at developer relationships."

    Over the years, Microsoft's rivals have emulated Microsoft's MSDN Web site, where programmers can get the latest information and tutorials on working with Microsoft's software. The company also offers training classes at its Professional Developer's Conference, which will be held next week in Los Angeles.