Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Exit One Kevin Johnson

So this email comes in from Ballmer this afternoon and, after appreciating Mr. Ballmer's picture thanks to ShowSenderPhoto, I'm scanning through it, "Yep, yep, sounds like a bunch of the stuff covered this morning at the Town H-what-the-hell-Kevin Johnson is leaving?"

That was a surprise.

A... pleasant surprise.

I'm really surprised. There was Mr. Johnson up on stage this morning during the Town Hall causing me to roll my eyes with his fake enthusiasm and now he's leaving Dodge. On the horse he rode in on 16 years back. I know he did a lot to pick up the pieces after the Vista-debacle and is probably due a good amount of praise for letting Win7 align itself to be on the winning trajectory, but I just never bonded with Mr. Johnson's leadership. And some of the projects he's interested in and driving just leave me cold (e.g., the upcoming MSN UI revamp. It puts the F in WTF).

Is he taking the opportunity to be CEO of Juniper? Is he the fall guy for Yahoo! being such a bumbling mess? Is his departure meant to make way for a big acquisition / merger?

As we consider the long race to succeed Ballmer, I was certainly worried that Mr. Johnson was at the top of the stack rank. No reason to worry anymore! And three of my favorite technical leaders, Mr. Sinofsky, Mr. DeVaan, and Mr. Veghte, all move up a notch. Hey, one less layer in the company. Throw all three of them in the running, eh?

If this had only happened before Ms. Foley's chat in Redmond about Microsoft's future: Audio Mary Jo Foley on 'Microsoft 2.0'.

Anyway, it's one hell of a way to kick off our Financial Analysts Meeting (psst, here's a hint: surprises? Analysts no like). Any interesting takes on the departure, and the future hire that's TBD? First comment I've seen:

Wow, I just heard that Kevin Johnson resigned. So much for trying to rid the product group of the cancer left by Allchin! This is not a good day for future quarterly results....

(Updated: fixed rather embarrassingly wrong honorific - sorry!)

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