윈도·PC·모바일 사업부 통합…애플·구글 겨냥 포석
세계 최대 소프트웨어 업체인 마이크로소프트 (MS)가 애플과 구글이 주도하는 정보기술(IT) 업계의 새로운 흐름을 따라잡기 위해 대규모 구조조정을 단행키로 했다고 파이낸셜타임스(FT) 인터넷판 등 외신들이 12일 보도했다.
외신에 따르면 스티브 발머 MS 최고경영자(CEO)는 최근 직원들에게 보낸 이메일 을 통해 이 같은 구조조정 계획을 알렸으며 이번 구조조정을 통해 MS가 컴퓨터 경험의 중심이 모바일 위주로 이동하는 시대의 추세를 따라잡을 수 있도록 할 방침이다.
MS는 사업부를 축소하고 임원들을 물갈이하는 내부 구조조정을 통해 모바일 시 대에 걸맞은 하드웨어와 웹기반 서비스 사업에 역량을 집중하기로 했다.
MS는 또 전 세계 개인용 컴퓨터(PC) 시장이 침체를 겪는 반면 스마트폰과 태블 릿PC 등 모바일 기기 시장이 급성장하고 있다는 점을 감안, 분할된 여러 사업부문을 하나로 통합해 업무 효율을 높인다는 복안이다.
이를 위해 MS의 '캐시카우'인 윈도 운영체제(OS)와 PC, 모바일, 엑스박스(X-Box
) 사업부 등을 하나로 묶어 한층 체계적이고 효율적인 대응이 가능하도록 할 계획이 다.
윈도 OS를 사용하는 자사 기기들을 하나의 사업부에서 통합해 관리할 경우 애플 의 iOS나 구글의 안드로이드 소프트웨어에 맞서 한층 경쟁력을 가질 수 있다는 것이 발머 CEO의 생각이다.
MS는 이밖에 인수합병(M&A)과 신사업 개발, 소프트웨어 개발업체나 PC 제조업체 와의 관계를 책임지는 사업부, 빙(Bing) 검색서비스와 오피스 프로그램, 스카이프 등을 망라하는 사업부도 신설키로 했다.
발머 CEO는 이메일에서 "이 계획은 '하나의 전략, 하나의 MS(One Strategy, One Microsoft)'를 만들기 위한 것"이라며 "사업부별로 여러 전략을 나열하는 것이 아니 라 하나의 회사로서 단일 전략을 추진해 나갈 것"이라고 강조했다.
발머 CEO는 이 같은 구조조정 계획을 올해 말까지 모두 완료하겠다고 약속했다. 발머 CEO의 구조조정 계획이 알려지자 11일(현지시간) 오전 뉴욕증시에서 MS 주 가는 전일 대비 1% 이상 상승하며 강세를 보였다.
<관련 영문 기사>
Microsoft reboots with sweeping reorganization
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Microsoft Corp. has decided its entire business needs a new operating system.
CEO Steve Ballmer is restructuring the company to cope with a quickening pace of technological change that has left the world's largest software maker a step behind its two biggest rivals, Apple and Google.
In an effort to catch up, Microsoft is dismantling a management structure that separated the company into sometimes disjointed divisions and hatching a more cohesive product line-up. The new set up revolves around software, devices and services connecting those devices to applications stored in remote data centers _ a concept that has become known as ``cloud computing.''
The move comes amid a lukewarm response to the latest version of Microsoft's flagship Windows operating system and a steady decline in demand for personal computers as people increasingly rely on more convenient smartphones and tablets.
If things pan out the way Ballmer envisions, the shake-up announced Thursday will foster more rapid innovation and sharpen the company's focus on countering the threat posed by mobile devices running on software made by Apple and Google while laptop and desktop computers powered by Windows lose their luster. He is hoping a more closely-knit organization making the software and services that run smartphones, tablets, the Xbox video game console and, yes, PCs will re-establish Microsoft's reputation as ``a company that helps people get stuff done.''
``We are ready to take Microsoft in bold new directions,'' Ballmer told analysts and reporters during a conference call.
Ballmer, 57, can't afford to lose his way now. If he does, Microsoft could be even further eclipsed by its rivals. That, in turn, could disillusion investors already exasperated with the lackluster performance of Microsoft's stock since Ballmer succeeded his close friend, company co-founder Bill Gates, as CEO 13 years ago.
During Ballmer's reign, Microsoft's stock has slipped by nearly 40 percent even as the company's annual revenue has roughly quadrupled from $20 billion to nearly $80 billion. The bellwether Standard & Poor's 500 has climbed by 14 percent during the same time while Apple's stock price is nearly 17 times higher. By the time Google went public, Ballmer had already been Microsoft's CEO for four years. Since then, Google's stock has risen tenfold. Both Apple and Google now boast higher total market values than Microsoft.
Microsoft's stock gained 99 cents Thursday to close at $35.69. The shares have surged 24 percent in the past three months, partly because the company's revenue is holding up better than many analysts expected, despite five consecutive quarters of declining PC sales. Some recent buyers of Microsoft's stock had been betting the company would do something even more dramatic, such as spinning off a division or shedding its unprofitable Internet search engine, Bing, said BGC Financial analyst Colin Gillis. Neither of those appears likely, now that Ballmer has reshuffled the business.
Gillis views the changes as Ballmer's tacit acknowledgement that Microsoft had become bogged down in bureaucracy and second-guessing _ and an admission that there was too much internal strife as various factions formed to protect their turf.
``We have to make the right decisions more quickly,'' Ballmer said. The company's motto now: ``One Microsoft all the time.''
Ballmer appears to have the right idea, although it would have looked even smarter had he done it shortly after it became clear that Apple's 2010 release of the iPad was reshaping the tech market, said Gartner Inc. analyst David Cearley.
``They are really reorganizing for the market reality that has been in place for the last three years,'' Cearley said. ``It would have been nice if it was done earlier, but it's not too little too late yet. The real key is execution. All these changes make sense and I can see a path forward, but that path forward is a really rocky one.''
Most of Microsoft's key executives will remain in positions of power at the Redmond, Wash., company although with new roles and more defined responsibilities. The company's new divisions include engineering, marketing and business development.
Ballmer said no layoffs are planned, although analysts believe the overhaul will open the door for cost-cutting opportunities as Microsoft pulls together its disparate parts.
Terry Myerson, who had been overseeing Windows Phone, will lead Microsoft's operating systems and engineering group, namely Windows. Qi Lu, who had been overseeing Bing, will head applications and services.
Microsoft named veteran executive Julie Larson-Green head of its devices and studios engineering group, which will be in charge of hardware development, games, music and entertainment. She had been promoted in November to lead all Windows software and hardware engineering after Steven Sinofsky, the president of its Windows and Windows Live operations, left the company shortly after the launch of Windows 8.
Tony Bates, who joined Microsoft in 2011 when the company bought video calling service Skype for $8.5 billion, will take on a key networking role as he works with the company's key business partners and preaches about the virtues of Microsoft's products and services.
Some of what Microsoft is doing mirrors changes that Apple and Google already have executed.
For instance, Apple put its iOS software for iPhones and iPads along with its operating system for its Mac computer under one executive, Craig Federighi, in a shake-up last year. And Google's Android software for mobile devices and Chrome software for laptops were aligned under the management of the same executive, Sundar Pichai, for the first time during the spring.
Now, Microsoft hopes to mimic the success of its rivals in a world that increasingly revolves around mobile devices and Internet services. Gartner estimates nearly 867 million devices running on Android software will be shipped worldwide this year, up from 505 million last year. Worldwide shipments of Windows-powered devices are expected to total nearly 340 million this year, down from 346 million last year, Gartner forecasts. But those Windows machines are primarily PCs, not smartphones or tablets. Apple will ship about 296 million iOS and Mac devices this year, up from 213 million last year, Gartner predicted.
Part of Microsoft's problem is a matter of perception. Even though it remains one of the world's most profitable companies, its stature has been steadily diminishing in tech and investment circles.
Ballmer's reorganization ``should help Microsoft slow its decline, but the question remains whether it will be enough to help it climb into new markets,'' Forrester Research analyst Frank Gillett said.