Analysts Concerned as Another Microsoft Exec Exits

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft is reportedly losing one of its most prominent and talented executives. Bob Muglia, who has been with the company nearly a quarter of a century, will be making his exit this coming summer. The news has generated much speculation from analysts, as the line of departing Microsoft execs grows longer.

Cloud Computing Exec Looks to "New Opportunities"

Muglia has been a part of Microsoft for 23 years. He's served a number of roles with the Redmond-based firm over that time, but in recent years has been a key part of Microsoft's shift toward cloud computing.

It's not yet clear what Muglia will do with his time once he's left, but in a statement to ZDNet writer Mary Jo Foley he noted that he was "moving on to new opportunities outside of Microsoft." (Source:

Analysts Question Departure

Some analysts are concerned by Muglia's exit, particularly because he follows what's becoming a long line of important managers leaving for greener pastures. In the past year, we've seen Roy Ozzie, chief software architect, Stephen Elop, Office group president, Robbie Bach, Microsoft entertainment division president, and Chris Liddell, CFO, all leave.

What some insiders are worried about is the fact that these recently-departed executives were groomed by Microsoft over the course of decades. It's not yet clear if the company can replace them with outsiders less familiar with the company's major role in the tech industry.

"What's concerning is that Microsoft's losing long-time insiders who came up the ranks in the company," noted Rob Helm, a Directions on Microsoft analyst. "What worries me is the loss of these long-term people, people who had the respect of the technical community inside Microsoft. That was especially true of Muglia, and his departure will be a real burden to that part of Microsoft."

Muglia Exit Likely to Burden Microsoft

Others say it won't be immediately clear how all these departures affect Microsoft. "It takes years to unfold," said Google's Don Dodge, formerly of Microsoft. "Each individual business division will get a new leader, and revenues will continue to chug along."

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer addressed some of these concerns in an email sent to Microsoft employees. The message has since been leaked to the media.

"This is simply recognition that all businesses go through cycles and need new and different talent to manage through those cycles," Ballmer said. "Bob has been a phenomenal partner throughout this process, and he and his leadership team have the right strategy in place." (Source:

Many observers were surprised with Muglia's decision, since the division he oversees, Server and Tools Business, has been doing so well lately. It has continued to grow consistently, becoming a $14.9 billion per year business.

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