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Microsoft's hardware chief changes roles before Elop return

Julie Larson-Green to become leader of My Life & Work team, which is part of the company's Applications and Services Group.

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Microsoft executive Julie Larson-Green announced Monday she is leaving her role as leader of hardware development to lead the My Life & Work team inside the Applications and Services Group.

Larson-Green, who announced the move in an internal memo obtained by "="">GeekWire, also will serve as chief experience officer for the division, which oversees online services such as Bing, Outlook.com, MSN, and SkyDrive. She will report to Qi Lu, who runs the Applications and Services Group.

Before taking over development of hardware such as the Xbox and Surface last July, Larson-Green was tapped to lead all Windows software and hardware engineering upon the sudden departure of Microsoft President Steven Sinofsky in 2012. She also has served as corporate vice president of program management for the Windows client.

The move comes ahead of the imminent return of former Microsoft exec Stephen Elop, the ex-Nokia CEO who is rejoining the software giant as part of its of Nokia's devices and services business. Larson-Green is expected to remain chief of the company's Devices & Studios Group until the Nokia deal closes, which is expected to happen this quarter.

Microsoft confirmed the appointment in a statement to CNET.

Larson-Green's internal memo:

As you will read in the notes below from Qi and Satya, I've accepted a new challenge, leading the My Life & Work team in ASG and serving as the Chief Experience Officer (CXO). As hard as it is for me to leave Devices & Studios, I'm thrilled about this opportunity. In working with company leaders this year to establish our One Microsoft vision and plan, I thought about ways I could have impact on helping Microsoft prepare for the future and innovate. My discussions with Satya and Qi made clear this is a critical space to drive new thinking and an essential way to help the shape the company's direction. I'm looking forward to developing the Digital Life & Digital Work Experience Substrate that powers modern digital experiences regardless of device, as well as working across ASG to strengthen customer experiences.
I want to thank each and every one of you for welcoming me and supporting me as the leader of Devices & Studios over the past 7 months. I'm very proud of what we have accomplished during such a short timeframe. We launched Xbox One, Surface 2 & Pro 2, blockbuster games like Forza and Ryse, a brand new Xbox Music and Video service, PPI, and some amazing unannounced innovations just to name a few - incredibly impressive!
Our opportunity to grow as a world-class devices and experiences company is greater than ever, and I have every belief that as One Microsoft we're on the right path. The addition of Nokia Devices & Services into the DnS family will add tremendous scale, talent and opportunity for our future.
I'll remain in role leading the DnS organization in the interim until the Nokia deal closes and Stephen Elop makes his transition to Microsoft. We've been meeting regularly throughout and are making a lot of progress, ensuring our teams are ready for the Day 1 close and beyond.
You are all in great hands with Stephen and already we've shared a lot with him and his LT from Nokia regarding all of the fantastic people, teams and products in DnS. I also know many of you are looking forward to welcoming the Nokia team and working more closely with them.
As I look to the future, I'm reminded of a favorite Chinese proverb: "To get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping."
I encourage you all to stay focused on the journey and opportunities ahead, and know that I'll be there in step with you as we launch the next chapter of Microsoft.
Thank you,

Update, 6:01 p.m. PT: With Microsoft confirmation of the appointment.