Microsoft has a new star exec line-up, and it quells Xbox sell-off rumours…

Newly appointed Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, appears to be moving fast to break down the team barriers often said to be a barrier to innovation at the Redmond-based company. His latest shake-up announced in an email to employees today shows a promising future.

The new executive positions relate to the Cloud and Enterprise department, Devices Group, and the company’s consumer ‘Xbox’ brand recently rumoured to be sold to a third-party...

Scott Guthrie will become Executive Vice President for the Cloud and Enterprise organisation – after a successful time as the acting leader. Scott joined Microsoft in 1997 and made “critical contributions” to .NET and other major technologies behind the company’s ecosystem.

Guthrie helped to drive the huge growth behind Microsoft Azure in the face of stiff competition from the likes of Amazon’s EC2, and Google’s Compute Engine. He also runs the development teams that build Windows Server, Microsoft SQL Server, Active Directory, System Center, .NET, and Visual Studio.

Having such vast experience at a core part of Satya’s “cloud-first” Microsoft going forward is sure to be respected both internally and externally. More than anything, it shows how committed Satya is to the Cloud – which is hardly surprising given his own background.

Nokia’s Stephen Elop will naturally be taking-over as Executive Vice President of Microsoft’s Devices Group once the acquisition of the Finnish company is complete (expected by the end of April 2014.)

Elop, as the long-standing CEO of Nokia, needs little introduction. Few will argue the design and innovation pumped into Nokia devices for (at least) the past 15 years, and there are sure to be just as few which won’t have owned a handset from the iconic manufacturer at some point.

His experience – along with the ability to continue guiding current colleagues – is sure to place Microsoft in good stead for all future hardware.

One important piece of Microsoft, which evolved from hardware into a fully-fledged consumer brand, is the Xbox console. Last year the company launched the latest iteration, the ‘Xbox One’, as the do everything machine for gaming and entertainment with deep-ties to the Cloud.

The console shipped nearly 4 million units in 2013, and as of today sits around 7 million. It’s the fastest growing Xbox yet – and has services carrying its name across devices including Xbox Music and Xbox Video.

It’s not just a console – it’s Microsoft’s welcome invasion into your home.

Despite the sell-off rumours, it’s clear Nadella is behind the console and continues to see its potential. Long-standing Xbox community legend and gamer, Phil Spencer, is now heading up the business and combining the Xbox (and Xbox Live) development teams with Microsoft Studios.

The respected former head of Microsoft Studios will now have the oversight of everything Xbox – allowing for a more streamlined and cohesive brand development. Spencer will report to Microsoft’s Executive Vice President of Operating Systems, Terry Myerson, to ensure the best of Windows and Xbox are fully realised on both platforms.

As a hardcore gamer himself, Spencer knows how to please the crowd. Speaking with Kotaku he said: "Xbox One is our most important gaming asset to date. [We want to] make sure we're completely focused on that gaming customer, that core gaming fan.

Making sure of that, that's what I'm going to bring to this position… a focus on gaming for Xbox One. The entertainment features that we have on Xbox One are important, but those can't come at a cost for what we do for the core gamer."

In the interview he also acknowledged that Microsoft is still strong in the PC gaming space – but hasn’t had much focus on it until recently. Along with Myerson he promises that will change – the company has already started with the DirectX 12 announcement recently.

Once again, to re-affirm Nadella’s commitment to Xbox, he wrote: “I love the way the Xbox team is focused on great games and gaming experiences (go, “Titanfall”!), connects with its fans, pushes the boundary of entertainment, and has embraced the power of the cloud in such interesting and impactful ways. Phil is the right person to lead Xbox forward.”

Do you think the executives are a good choice for the positions?

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