After Microsoft's latest re-org, who's going to guide Silverlight?

A leaked memo says Scott Guthrie, currently the guiding tech light behind Silverlight, is headed to another division. What's that say about Silverlight's future?

Three months ago when I last blogged about the ongoing high-level turmoil at Microsoft (see "Geeks vs. suits: Microsoft's executive revolving door keeps spinning"), longtime president of the System and Tools Business Bob Muglia was headed to greener pastures, replaced by "Mr. Bing" Satya Nadella.

This week, Nadella instigated a re-org that moves a lot of people into very new positions. The key people reporting to Nadella -- Bill Laing at the Server and Cloud Division, Ted Kummert leading the Business Platform Division, and Soma Somasegar running the Developer Division -- remain the same. But the changes at the next level defy simplification. Suffice it to say, last week's organizational chart at System and Tools Business doesn't look anything at all like the one this week.

The changes more closely align Microsoft's org chart with the features coming up in Azure -- to a first approximation, anyway. As Nadella said in an internal memo on Monday, according to Mary Jo Foley: "The Windows Azure Platform will be our fully integrated public cloud service spanning compute, storage, networking, SQL, identity, commerce, application development platform & tools. In addition our next wave of releases across Windows Server, Systems Center and SQL Server will enable private cloud and mission critical virtualization features among other key customer scenarios."

There's one stunning change in all this. Scott Guthrie, currently vice president of the .Net Developer Platform, under Somasgar, is moving to work under Kummert as the VP of the newly created Azure Application Platform. In the process, the most visible proponent of Silverlight development -- both on the Web and on Windows Phone 7 -- is leaving Silverlight behind.

Guthrie speaks at all of the big developer conventions, including Windows Phone, Silverlight, and most recently MIX 11. You've probably seen a picture of him: Guthrie invariably wears a red polo shirt and blue jeans on stage.

I think it's fair to say that Guthrie's a developer's developer. He and Mark Anders created ASP.Net, which brought Windows programming into the 21st century. Right now, working under Somasegar, he's in charge of ASP.Net, all sorts of .Net-related projects -- including the Common Language Runtime, Base Class Library -- Internet Information Services for Web servers (yes, that IIS), Windows Presentation Foundation, and both Silverlight in its Web-based form and Silverlight in its Windows Phone 7 programming incarnation.

You may recall the enormous uproar following Bob Muglia's talk about a "shift in strategy" with Silverlight and HTML5. Microsoft in general -- and Somasegar and Guthrie in particular -- worked hard to contain the firefight that ensued, convincing developers that Silverlight had a glorious future in spite of HTML5's inroads.

Perhaps Microsoft's actions now speak louder than its words?

This story, "After Microsoft's latest re-org, who's going to guide Silverlight?," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.

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