Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer is expected to keep shaking up his management team, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

Citing two unnamed sources with knowledge of the decision, the publication said that Ballmer may add some senior product executives with engineering backgrounds to his top staff. Last month, Ballmer forced out server division president Bob Muglia, a 23-year company lifer, saying Microsoft needed new leadership in cloud software. Changes may be announced this month.

Microsoft needs engineering expertise to run product divisions that are taking on rivals Apple and Google in web services, smartphones and tablet computers. Four top executives have left the company since May, prompting criticism from the board and investors about Ballmer’s regime.

“You see the engineering team ascending because Steve is realizing that there is a need to execute on a vision, and in order to do that you have to actually understand how software is built,” said Wes Miller, an analyst at the Kirkland, Washington-based research firm Directions on Microsoft, in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek. “It’s a whole other thing to be able to say, ‘I’ve been at Microsoft, I understand software, and what you are saying will or will not work.’”

Microsoft declined to comment on the pending changes. The company faces some of the biggest competitive threats in its history, particularly as the industry momentum shifts away from the PC, where Microsoft is a powerhouse, to mobile markets such as smartphones and tablets. That’s where Microsoft lags pitifully behind. In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Ballmer got a smaller bonus than he could have last year because of the failure of Microsoft’s Kin smartphone and overall market share losses in smartphones.

The publication closed its story with an obvious conclusion: At some point, Ballmer may run out of people in his organization to blame and may have to take responsibility for failure himself. That’s evidently happened to top executives at Nokia, Advanced Micro Devices and other big companies. We sincerely hope that whoever joins the top ranks at Microsoft will be as entertaining as Ballmer has been over the years.

[image credit: Technorati]

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