REDMOND, Wash., Oct. 28, 2005 – Microsoft this week named longtime executive Bob Muglia senior vice president of the company’s Server and Tools business. The 17-year Microsoft veteran, who has led Microsoft’s Windows Server business since 2003, will replace Eric Rudder, who is taking on a new role working directly for Bill Gates, Microsoft’s chairman and chief software architect.
Bob Muglia, Senior Vice President, Microsoft Server and Tools
Muglia’s transition helps complete the leadership reorganization Microsoft announced in September as part of a larger realignment of the company into three new divisions. He will lead a business that includes the development and marketing of Microsoft Windows Server, SQL Server, Exchange Server, Windows management products, enterprise access and security products, and software developer tools. Server and Tools reported nearly US$10 billion in revenue and grew 16 percent during FY2005.
Muglia has served in a variety of leadership roles during his 17 years with Microsoft. These include managing the development of MSN, Office, Windows Server and Visual Studio.
“Bob’s broad experience and passion for serving customers make him an excellent choice to lead our server and tools business,” said Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer. “If anyone can build on this division’s impressive record of growth and technology leadership, Bob can.”
Muglia will continue to lead the Windows Server Division until a replacement is named. He also will work closely with Rudder during this transition, which will begin following the launch of Visual Studio and SQL Server 2005 on Nov. 7.
PressPass met up with Muglia to discuss his new leadership role and his goals for Server and Tools.
PressPass: What does your new job entail?
Bob Muglia: First off, I want to say that it’s an honor to take on the challenge of leading the Server and Tools business.
I will be working with the group’s leadership team to continue the strong momentum of Server and Tools. We have a great opportunity to help enterprises significantly lower the cost of infrastructure computing, and make it much easier to add significant business value with distributed applications and connected systems. We are driving these two key pillars –lowering cost and adding value – through the entire suite of Microsoft’s server and tool products so that these complex infrastructure products are much easier to manage and so that new services, applications and connected systems can be quickly and easily developed and deployed.
To put it another way, I will be overseeing a robust pipeline of innovation and a broad array of resources focused on helping people, mainly developers and IT professionals in this case, be successful. I want to ensure we are doing all we can as a company to articulate the value we’re bringing to the table, helping our customers use IT to unlock the value within their organizations.
PressPass: What are your top goals in your new role?
Muglia: Eric has done a tremendous job leading this business. He drove broad use of .NET among developers, and led incredible growth and success throughout our server and tools business. Just look at the numbers: This business has delivered 12 straight quarters of double digit growth. In FY05, it generated $10 billion in revenue, and its 16-percent growth was vital to the company’s overall financial strength.
Over the next 18 months, Microsoft will be launching a series of milestone products, beginning with the newest versions of Visual Studio, SQL Server and BizTalk Server next week. Windows Vista and Exchange 12 will come next year along with a new wave of management products, followed by the Windows Server “Longhorn” wave of products. So we have a tremendous opportunity in front of us with this very rich and deep product pipeline.
But, we also face considerable challenges to maintain and strengthen our leadership in the market. IT systems continue to get more complex and costly to operate – and our competition looks at solving this complexity and cost with more complexity and expensive services. We are the only company that is focused on solving the complexity and cost problem through innovation and software – by offering true integrated innovation, a common user experience, better management and deep integration with developer tools through Windows Server System.
At the most fundamental level, we need to ensure our products are delivering the value that our customers need and expect from Microsoft. The only way we can do this is if we attract and retain the best and brightest talent. I am committed to keeping people in this business motivated to come to work every day. I also aim to provide the clear direction and quick decision-making necessary to drive new opportunities and effectively address our challenges.
PressPass: How have your past roles at Microsoft helped prepare you for this position?
Muglia: If I had a hat for every leadership position I’ve held here at Microsoft, I could practically outfit a baseball team. The only problem – at least for this team – is each of the hats would be a little different color. But this diversity of leadership experience should come in quite handy in my new role.
I have held senior leadership positions across Microsoft’s entire business and on a variety of development and product teams: Office, Web Services, MSN, Mobile Devices, Storage and Management, and Windows Server. This gives me deep and varied insight into the ways customers use our products today and the way they will need our products to adapt to meet their needs tomorrow. By working with customers on so many of our products and services, I think I’ve gained a keen sense of the importance of really listening to our customers when making decisions.
I’ve also been lucky enough to work on both sides of the business/technical performance fence at Microsoft. I’m currently a member of Microsoft’s Technical Senior Leadership Team, which is responsible for developing Microsoft’s technical direction. I also get to help oversee broad strategic and business planning across the company, as a member Business Leadership Team. By serving on both leadership teams, I’ve gained insight into how to ensure our products and services address business realities while delivering the technical performance our customers demand.
Perhaps most importantly, I’ve spent the past two years leading the team that builds Windows Server, the centerpiece of the larger server and tools business that I will now oversee.
PressPass: What accomplishment have you been most proud of in the past few years, leading the Windows Server business?
Muglia: I am most proud of how we have worked with customers to better understand their needs, as well as how to make their investment in our product roadmap a strategic asset – not just another expense built into their budget each year.
We’ve tried to be as explicit as possible about how we are going to meet our customers’ needs. This includes making five promises to our customers that the Windows Server business will work to uphold over the next five to 10 years. First, we have vowed to focus on specific customer needs and challenges – what we call “the right server for the right job” – by concentrating on how our products address individual workloads, creating special editions of our server products to meet distinct customer needs or even integrating products to create the best solution. The other promises also closely align with what customers tell us they need: an end-to-end connected systems platform, universal distributed storage, secure-anywhere access and self-managing dynamic systems.
The business’s financial success is another barometer of how well we are meeting our customers’ needs. Windows Server “Longhorn” will be the ultimate gauge of how we are doing. Not only will it demonstrate our progress on all five customer promises, it will provide our customers solid proof that we are delivering in the other areas they consider vital: making Windows Server even more secure, manageable, responsive and interoperable with their existing environment.
I’m also extremely proud to of the work by the whole Server and Tools Business team in helping the company adopt a more holistic approach to meeting our customers’ needs. Management is a great example. We no longer think about management as an isolated task to be dealt with in a single way with a single tool or method. We’re now building management capabilities into everything – throughout our enterprise infrastructure, the desktop, Windows Server, all of the server applications and Office. By looking at management in a holistic way, we are providing our customers better, more cost-effective ways to maximize their investment in Microsoft technology and confidently handle one of their most important daily IT tasks.
PressPass: You have placed a great emphasis on improving the connection Microsoft has with customers. How are you going to carry that forward in your new role?
Muglia: During my tenure with Windows Server, I helped craft the five promises that the group made and is keeping with our customers. I aim to make similarly concrete, binding commitments to our server and tools customers – and doing everything in my power to ensure we deliver on those commitments.
It is absolutely essential that we are as transparent and predictable in our product development and delivery schedules. Our customers need to be able to plan their technology purchases and deployment schedules months or years in advance. They need to know as early as possible how our server products and tools are evolving, and they need to be able to mark delivery dates on their calendar, so they can plan and budget around those dates – and feel confident they won’t substantially change.
I am also committed to addressing the issues that are most important to our customers, including improved security, and deepening our commitment and engagement with the Windows community to meet their IT needs.
PressPass: How does this fit in with the overall restructuring that was announced last month?
Muglia: The server and tools business will continue to focus on developing and marketing the world’s broadest, richest platform and highest-rated products for developers and IT professionals. But we must also work to ensure this business fits into a broader division that has responsibility for all client and software services, including MSN.
PressPass: How will you know you have been successful a year from now?
Muglia: We have an incredibly strong product pipeline and it’s imperative that we deliver those products. Having said that, merely delivering products isn’t enough. An important barometer of our success will be how well customers understand our technology and product roadmap, what Microsoft stands for in the enterprise market and how we can be strategic partners in delivering value to the people who use our software to help drive business results. We also need to ensure our customers have solid understanding of how their investments in our technology and business initiatives will help them be more successful today and well into the future.
The Server and Tools Business will deliver many important new technologies over the next 18 months. We need to build customer demand for Visual Studio 2005, SQL Server 2005 and BizTalk Server 2006 with a strong launch next week, and ongoing efforts to demonstrate the value of these new technologies. We also must spur strong adoption of Windows Server 2003 R2, when it debuts later this year, and prepare customers and partners for Windows Server “Longhorn.”
PressPass: You’ve had a lot of jobs at Microsoft. What’s most interesting about this one?
Muglia: There’s never been a better time for the server and tools business to make a difference for our customers. The new tools and capabilities of Visual Studio 2005, teamed with the advanced data analysis and management capabilities of SQL Server 2005 and Biz Talk 2006, provide people with the capabilities they’ve been asking for to build and run their IT systems more efficiently and unlock the full value of their IT investment. With the “Longhorn” wave coming, beginning with Windows Vista, Office 12 and Exchange 12 next year, we will enter a new era where customers have more capability and functionality that is lower cost than ever before.
PressPass: What keeps you excited about your job and gets you to work every day?
Muglia: I know we are making a difference for our customers and partners every day. We are fundamentally improving the way people work and live their lives. We are allowing people to work together more efficiently than ever with coworkers anywhere around the world. We’re allowing people to manage and create value from massive amounts of information, and providing developers the tools to expand the possibilities of IT even further on the Microsoft platform. I get to help all of the incredibly motivated people here at Microsoft look for new ways to do all of these things – and I marvel when they consistently deliver. Who wouldn’t get up every morning and be excited about going to work if they were able to do the same thing?