Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) said Steven Guggenheimer, a vice president who oversees the software maker’s relationships with computer makers, is leaving the position and will be replaced by Nick Parker.
Guggenheimer will take a sabbatical before returning to a new role at the company, Frank Shaw, a spokesman for Microsoft, said yesterday in an interview. Parker had previously overseen marketing in the group that deals with computer makers.
The switch coincides with a strategy shift poised to put Microsoft at odds with the device makers that most widely use its software. Microsoft unveiled plans last week to sell its own tablet, becoming a rival to its closest partners. Hewlett- Packard Co. said yesterday that it won’t sell a tablet with Windows RT, declining to back Microsoft’s strategy of selling two versions of the next operating system at its introduction.
“Put in someone fresh now and they can have some positive impact before launch,” said Colin Gillis, an analyst at BGC Partners in New York. It’s been a long time since a Microsoft partner released a piece of hardware “that you really coveted.”
The switch has been planned for some time and is unrelated to the Microsoft’s new tablet, Shaw said. Guggenheimer spent more than four years in the job, heading up what Microsoft calls its Original Equipment Manufacturer unit.
“As a result of long term planning, Steven Guggenheimer will move on from his current role as CVP of the OEM Division effective July 1, to coincide with the start of Microsoft’s fiscal year,” Shaw said in a separate statement. “He is taking on a new senior leadership role at the company, and further details will be provided when finalized.”
The move comes months before Microsoft plans to release an overhauled version of Windows that adds touch support for tablets and runs on processors with technology from ARM Holdings Plc (ARM) for the first time.
The company hasn’t done a great job of working with PC makers, as only a handful will initially sell tablets with Windows RT, the version for ARM-based chips, Gillis said.
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