Microsoft wants to start marketing Microsoft 365 as a single product in its new fiscal year

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Credit: Microsoft

July 1 marks the start of Microsoft’s new fiscal year (2020). It wouldn’t be a new year without at least a few reorgs, new titles and new teams.

In the Microsoft 365 (M365) organization, marketing has gotten a makeover, according to my contacts. As a result, as of July 1, there is now an integrated M365 marketing group under Corporate Vice President Jared Spataro.

Up until now, Spataro was overseeing three separate marketing organizations — the three legs of the M365 stool — Windows 10, Office 365 and Enterprise Mobility + Security. While Microsoft officials sometimes bristled when I called M365 a “bundle,” not an integrated platform, that’s basically how the company has been taking this product to market since it launched it three years ago.

For those who need a quick refresher, Microsoft 365 is a key piece of what falls under Executive Vice President Rajesh Jha’s Experiences & Devices unit.  Microsoft introduced the Microsoft 365 concept at its partner conference in July 2017. The first two editions (Business and Enterprise) became available for purchase in early August 2017. Microsoft is working to come up with a Microsoft 365 Consumer subscription plan, but still has yet to go public with it.  

As part of this M365 marketing reorg, there’s now a new “M365 Foundations” team being run by Rob Howard. The idea here is to bring together Windows, Office Management and the M365 Developer Platform into a common org. 

Howard spoke to me at Build 2019 (before this reorg) about what Microsoft considers this “M365 Developer Platform” to include. The short answer: Microsoft’s identity platform (Azure Active Directory and Active Directory); the unified Microsoft Graph API; the “knowledge substrate“; and the coming Fluid Framework for faster coauthoring and building web-based distributed apps. (The M365 Developer Platform is now the domain of Mike Ammerlan, I hear.) A little-publicized M365 Insider program already exists, by the way.

Howard has a number of other direct reports, responsible for everything from integrated M365 deployment and management, to M365 Core User Experiences and a new M365 Marketing team under Gavin King, which is going to step up work to market M365 as a single product rather than a collection of barely connected components.

Bernardo Caldas, who previously held the title of General Manager of Microsoft 365 since 2017 (and a number of Windows-specific positions before that), is no longer in that role. He is now director of program management in Azure Stack, one of my contacts said, which is part of the COSINE (Core OS and Intelligent Edge) organization in the combined Azure-Windows engineering world.

A related aside: “Foundation” seems to be emerging as Microspeak buzzword worth watching. In addition to the aforementioned M365 Foundations team, there’s also something in Corporate VP Joe Belfiore’s EPIC (Essential Products Inclusive Community) team called “M365 FX.” This stands for Microsoft 365 Foundational Experiences, one of my sources says. M365 FX is what used to be known as the Shell team, combined with the former MEE, or Membership Experiences team. The Foundational Experiences team is working to further separate the Windows shells (like Santorini) from the Windows Core.

I asked Microsoft officials if they’d comment on what I’ve heard about the M365 Marketing reorg. A spokesperson said the company declined to comment. If any readers can fill in more pieces, I’m all ears.

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Microsoft wants to start marketing Microsoft 365 as a single product in its new fiscal year
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