Muglia to depart Microsoft

By Scott Wilson, February 28, 2013 4:04 pm

Microsoft Server and Tools Business President Bob Muglia will be leaving the company some time later this year, another bad sign at a company that is increasingly loaded down with bad signs.

Turnover is inevitable in high tech companies and there are different ways to read it; Google has certainly had their share this past year as well. It's often seen as a sign of disaffection or disruption and sometimes read as a predictor of poor performance by people in the best position to know. In Muglia's case, certain signs point to a decision from on high… Steve Ballmer's e-mail to employees states "…I have decided that now is the time to put new leadership in place for STB."

You might expect such a move if it were made against the president of a poorly performing division and we've seen Microsoft do so in the past. STB, however, is one of the few bright stars in the Microsoft constellation these days. Ballmer's rationale is that it is best to make changes from a position of strength. That much is true, but on the other hand, you don't fix what isn't broken. Muglia has had a big hand in the success of his division, and even more importantly in the incorporation of Azure and other cloud-based initiatives which might have caused big problems for a less talented leader. If, as Mary Jo Foley speculates in the post linked above, Muglia was proving intractable at some suggestion of Ballmer's regarding the future of STB, then the company might have done a lot better listening to Muglia's perspective than Ballmer's, considering the respective track records. Management that blames lower levels for its problems is a classic sign of a company in serious long-term trouble. This is not an incontrevertible sign of that situation, but it is a data point that tallies in that direction.

Photo source D.Begley

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