The appointment on Thursday of Sinofsky,, is part of a large reorganization by the software giant. Microsoft is restructuring its Platforms & Services division to better align its Windows unit and its online MSN operations with its Live strategy.
The new structure will have eight groups, including the Windows and Windows Live Group, headed by Sinofsky. Three of the eight groups are new: the Windows Live Platform Group, the Online Business Group, and the Market Expansion Group.
Jim Allchin, Microsoft's longtime Windows development chief,from his post as co-president of the Platforms & Services division. The company now says Allchin will retire next year.
His retirement, however, is also dependent upon Microsoft making its Windows Vista commercially available. Allchin is expected to continue in his current role until.
Sinofsky, a longtime veteran of Microsoft's Office product unit, will be responsible for planning and developing future versions of Windows.
Microsoft did not immediately name a replacement for Sinofsky in the Office unit, but said that he will work with the group in a transition mode through May. "Jeff (Raikes, president of Microsoft Business Division) will be working with Steven and his team to develop the best leadership structure for the future of Office," a Microsoft representative said.
Other executive changes include the naming of David Cole, a senior vice president, to temporarily lead the new Online Business Group until he takes a leave of absence at the end of April.
Yusuf Mehdi, a senior vice president, will take on the role of chief online advertising strategist and will report directly to Kevin Johnson, co-president of the Platforms & Services Division. Martin Taylor, a corporate vice president, will head up Windows Live and MSN marketing and step down from Microsoft's Server and Tools business.
Mike Nash, who headed Microsoft's Security Technology unit, will also step down from his position, to take an as-yet-undetermined role with the company. Ben Fathi will succeed Nash as the new security chief.
Will Poole, a senior vice president, will oversee the newly created Market Expansion Group. That group will focus on new form factors and emerging markets, Microsoft said.