Microsoft Partners Thrilled Azure Chief Guthrie Is Getting Nadella's Old Job


Microsoft's Windows Azure chief Scott Guthrie, a rock star in the developer community for many years, has moved into CEO Satya Nadella's old role as head of the Cloud and Enterprise group.

Guthrie is filling the role on an interim basis for now, but Microsoft will likely appoint him as the permanent head of its Cloud and Enterprise group, ZDNet reported earlier this week.

Microsoft's application development partners were pleased to see 22-year veteran Nadella getting the nod for CEO because they feel he's understanding of their needs. And they're just as jazzed about Guthrie being named to replace him.    

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"The honor couldn’t go to a more qualified nor esteemed person at Microsoft," Scott Stanfield, CEO of Vertigo Software, a Richmond, Calif.-based Microsoft partner, told CRN. "I couldn't be more thrilled."

Tim Huckaby, CEO of InterKnowlogy, a Microsoft partner in Carlsbad, Calif., described Guthrie's promotion as a "godsend" because it puts one of Microsoft's most popular executives in charge of one of its most important business units.

"You have no idea how many app dev partners have reached out to me with the same message of 'rejoice!'" Huckaby said in an email.

While Guthrie's old job as corporate vice president of Windows Azure was strategically important, his new one will be even bigger. Microsoft created the Cloud and Enterprise group in its July re-organization to replace the old Server and Tools group, which was the company's second-largest unit by revenue in fiscal 2013, accounting for $20.2 billion in sales under Nadella.

Partners see Guthrie as a key driver of the open approach Microsoft is taking with Azure, which supports a wide range of development languages and frameworks.

At Microsoft's Build conference for developers last June, Nadella made a big splash by doing a demo of an iPhone app running on Azure Mobile Services -- Microsoft's cloud-based back end for mobile apps -- using a Mac.

In an interview with CRN in October, Guthrie said the idea behind the demo was to use an unexpected approach to make an important point about how Microsoft is changing. "We said, people expect us to build a Windows 8 app on a PC, so why don't we show them something different," Guthrie told CRN in October

"I think that, to some extent, speaks to our approach with Azure. It's about making sure we embrace everything that's out there and have a good development environment for any type of app," he added.

PUBLISHED FEB. 7, 2014