Microsoft is to enact a leadership shake-up that will see Nokia chief executive Stephen Elop take over Microsoft's Devices and Studios division. The division's current head Julie Larson-Green will move to a new role focusing on user experience.
Larson-Green, who in 2013 oversaw the launch of the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 Windows 8 tablets and the Xbox One, will become the chief experience officer (CXO) in the Applications and Services Group. She had only been in her current role for seven months, having taken the position in July 2013, two months before Microsoft announced that it would be buying Finnish device maker Nokia.
Elop was expected to walk into a senior role at Microsoft as soon as the deal between the two firms had been approved by regulatory bodies. He had been tipped as the company's next chief executive, but the job instead went to cloud and enterprise chief Satya Nadella.
As head of the Devices and Studios division, Elop will oversee Microsoft's hardware business as well as its creative outlets, including Microsoft Studios, which produces video games for Xbox consoles, Windows-powered PCs, tablets and smartphones.
Larson-Green's new role will see her refining the user experience for Microsoft's software to fulfil the vision of the company's "One Microsoft" mantra, which aims to create a more consistent experience. In a previous role, she oversaw the introduction of the "Ribbon" navigation bar seen in Microsoft's Office software. Until the Nokia deal is finalised, she will continue in her current role.
In an email to staff published by GeekWire, she said: "You are all in great hands with Stephen and already we've shared a lot with him and his LT [leadership team] from Nokia regarding all of the fantastic people, teams and products in DnS [Devices and Studios]. I also know many of you are looking forward to welcoming the Nokia team and working more closely with them."
Microsoft's buyout of Nokia sees the company renew its efforts to gain ground on the leaders in the smartphone and tablet market, obtaining the staff and infrastructure of a once-dominant handset maker.
On Monday, Nokia unveiled its Nokia X phones, powered by Google's Android operating system, in a bid to tackle the low-end smartphone market. The announcement raised some eyebrows, with Nokia showing off devices running software managed by its chief rival. The company made it clear, however, that the devices would be entirely focused on Microsoft software and services.
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