The move out of the Applications and Services division, which includes many of Microsoft’s Web-facing products, comes just months before Windows 10 is expected to be introduced.
Microsoft is folding its MSN team into the Windows division, a shake-up announced months ahead of the expected release of Windows 10, the latest version of the operating system.
The move is the latest retooling of Microsoft’s structure during Satya Nadella’s 14 months of leading the Redmond company. Under the changes, which Nadella announced Friday in a memo, MSN will move to the Windows group led by Terry Myerson from the Applications and Services division headed by Qi Lu.
Myerson, 42, has taken on a growing slate of responsibilities in the past few years. He has led the operating systems group since its creation in 2013 as part of a sweeping reorganization under then-CEO Steve Ballmer.
In addition to the development of Windows across PCs and mobile devices, Myerson also oversees the Internet Explorer Web browser and the software side of Xbox. He previously led the development of the Windows Phone mobile operating system.
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Myerson’s team is deep into the development of Windows 10, set for release later this year on a date yet to be announced. Microsoft executives hope the operating system will make it easier for both consumers and developers to bridge the gap between smartphones, tablets and laptops, and extend Microsoft’s reach beyond its traditional domain of personal computers.
MSN’s former home, Applications and Services, includes much of the company’s Web-facing products. Lu, the former Yahoo executive who leads the unit, oversees the Bing search engine, Skype chat service and online advertising, as well as development of the Office productivity suite.
A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed MSN’s move, which was first reported in GeekWire, but declined to comment on how many employees would be affected.
As part of the 2012 launch of Windows 8, Microsoft’s most-recent major operating-system release, the company released a series of weather, news, sports, and other mobile and desktop applications under the “Bing” search engine name. Those applications were rebranded as “MSN” apps in September with the retooling of MSN.
Steve Kleynhans, an analyst with researcher Gartner, said Microsoft is likely trying to better integrate its MSN apps into Windows and the operating system’s digital search assistant, Cortana.
“Many of those MSN data services are getting richer in what they provide and so it makes some sense to ensure they work well with Windows,” Kleynhans said.
Cortana, which users can tell to remember their interests in sports, dining and other topics, links users to content they might like through MSN apps.
“There may be some future plans for how these will come together that hasn’t been exposed yet,” Kleynhans said. “We will have to watch and see how MSN evolves in this new structure.”
Launched in 1995, MSN has gone through a series of reinventions as Microsoft changed its approach to the Internet.
The service, originally dubbed Microsoft Network, began as a paid, proprietary online network, and was later retooled as a more-open Internet service provider to compete with the likes of AOL. For much of the 2000s, MSN served primarily as a Web portal and default Internet home page for the millions of PCs sold each year, offering original content and links to news, weather and email.
Microsoft has spent the past couple of years rolling back MSN’s production of original news content, cutting its workforce in 2013 and 2014. A redesigned MSN was launched in September, with executives touting the site’s partnerships with other news providers.
Business Insider reported last year that the redesign sparked renewed debate within Microsoft about the company’s priorities on the Web. Executives disagreed about whether Internet Explorer’s default landing page should tout Windows 10, and whether links in the MSN Web portal should point users to Bing search results or news articles, the news site reported.
A Microsoft spokesperson declined to comment on the report.