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Bob Muglia leaving Microsoft

Bob Muglia, president of Microsoft’s Server and Tools Business and the public face of its Hyper-V push, is leaving the company.

CEO Steve Ballmer announced Muglia’s departure in an email to employees today:

Now is the time to put new leadership in place for STB. This is simply recognition that all businesses go through cycles and need new and different talent to manage through those cycles. Bob has been a phenomenal partner throughout this process, and he and his leadership team have the right strategy in place.

In conjunction with this leadership change, Bob has decided to leave Microsoft this summer.

Muglia has been with Microsoft since 1988. In his current role, which he took in 2009, he has overseen Microsoft’s Windows Server business (including Hyper-V), as well as System Center, Windows Azure and related products.

In 2008, as senior vice president of the division, Muglia spoke at Microsoft’s virtualization launch event, which heralded the release of Hyper-V. One of the first things he said at that event was, “it’s still early days for virtualization.” He meant that in regards to the market as a whole, but it also reflected Microsoft’s late entrance to the party.

Since then, Microsoft has steadily improved its server virtualization portfolio. System Center Virtual Machine Manager was released later that year, with the ability to manage not only Hyper-V, but also VMware (albeit to a limited degree). Hyper-V R2 added Live Migration in 2009, and next year’s Service Pack 1 will bring Dynamic Memory. And, don’t forget, Microsoft made Hyper-V free.

“We were a bit behind VMware with a competitive feature set, but we’re there now and we have a much, much better price,” Muglia said at last February’s Goldman Sachs technology conference.

Despite those efforts under Muglia’s leadership, Hyper-V remains a distant second to VMware. VMware’s huge head start in the server virtualization market paid off, and its large install base may result in another huge head start in the private cloud market.

Ballmer wrote in today’s email that the Server and Tools Business is “uniquely well-positioned to drive the future of cloud computing.” Microsoft is definitely taking the lead when it comes to cloud marketing, but in reality, the drive that Muglia’s replacement faces will be an uphill one.

More: Muglia to leave Microsoft

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