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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

July 5, 2013 at 10:16 AM

Vote: Microsoft’s reorganization

The word is that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer could announce a major reorganization of the company as early as next week. Don Mattrick, who led the division that produces Xbox is already leaving to become chief executive of Zynga. According to BloombergSkype president Tony Bates might be placed in charge of acquisitions and relationships with software developers, while Windows boss Julie Larson-Green is given oversight of hardware engineering for all of Microsoft.

The speculation is a moving target. In early June, Kara Swisher of All Things D reported that a larger role was being contemplated for several executives, including Mattrick, as Ballmer moves to fulfill his promise to make Microsoft into a devices and services company. Now, not for Mattrick, obviously. Last fall, Ballmer wrote to shareholders, “This is a significant shift, both in what we do and how we see ourselves — as a devices and services company. It impacts how we run the company, how we develop new experiences, and how we take products to market for both consumers and businesses.”

Microsoft is trying to catch up in a number of areas and make the shift to leapfrog in tablets and phones, not repeat the mistake it made with search. There’s also an activist shareholder in the background, even though MSFT shares are almost $10 higher than they were three years ago and dominant shareholder Bill Gates would block any activist attempts to control the board. Another issue about the restructuring is how it affects larger employment for one of the biggest employers in the Puget Sound. What do you think?

Read on for some important stories you might have missed plus the haiku…

This Week’s Links:

A primer: What’s in a tar-sands pipeline | Gaius Publius

The jobs numbers are good, but can we ever expect great again? | The Atlantic

This turbine-powered Chevy Volt of airliners looks fantastic | Wired

In Ireland, dire echoes of a bailout gone wrong | NY Times

Five numbers show how much corporations really pay in taxes | Wall Street Journal

CEO salary justification season is open | Baseline Scenario

Adam Smith on the economics of U.S. independence | Conversable Economist

A surge in part-time workers | NYT Economix

Are bubbles back? | Dean Baker

Young men and fire | Rogue Columnist

Today’s Econ Haiku:

Anaconda squeeze

Feel it in the Amazon

Competition choked

Comments | More in Microsoft | Topics: Microsoft, Steve Ballmer

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