The lead designer of Windows 8 just took over Microsoft's most important business


julie larson green

Business Insider/Julie Bort

Microsoft's Julie Larson-Green.

Julie Larson-Green, a 22-year Microsoft veteran famous (or infamous) for her work on Windows 8's "Metro" tile interface, is now leading engineering efforts for Microsoft Office.


The news was reported earlier by Re/code.

The change would come at a critial time for Microsoft, as CEO Satya Nadella moves to bet the company's future on Office as the lynchpin of the company's cross-device strategy.

In Larson-Green's new role, she'll be in charge of the engineering efforts for both the Microsoft Office desktop suite and the Office 365 subscription-based cloud product.

Kurt Koenigsbauer, who previously held the title, has been tapped by Nadella and Microsoft CMO Chris Caposella to lead up the Office marketing group. For Koenigsbauer, it's something of a homecoming, as he spent much of the 2000s in a similar marketing role.


Larson-Green, meanwhile, has plenty of experience with the Microsoft Office lineup: She led user design for Office XP, 2003, and 2007, and headed up the introduction of the Ribbon menu.

When Windows boss Steven Sinofsky left Microsoft in 2012, Larson-Green was appointed head of Windows engineering. In 2013, she had a brief stint as head of Microsoft's device businesses, before being named Chief Experience Officer of Microsoft's services group in 2014.

As Chief Experience Officer, Larson-Green had been investigating crazy new ideas and businesses opportunities for Microsoft, including developing lock screen replacement software for Android phones. Much of her focus was on investigating how to make Microsoft's products smarter and more responsive to the individual user.

With her new job, it's not much of a stretch to see how that work could make its way back into Microsoft Office, and accelerate Microsoft's ambitions even further.

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