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By | Paul Kunert 30th August 2013 09:34

Microsoft's world channel overlord kicked sideways

'Going back to mah roots' in product development

Microsoft is to shunt global partner bigwig Jon Roskill sideways to make way for a new overlord of channel, Phil Sorgen, who previously managed the partner base stateside.

Sorgen will take the seat as corporate veep of the Worldwide Partner Group (WPG) from 1 September, managing the 640,000 channel players that tether their future success to the products Redmond develops.

Confirmation came out of the US yesterday evening with Sorgen set to report to Vahe Torossian, corporate vice president of of worldwide small and mid market solutions and partners.

Torossian talked up the "key asset" of channel partners, though with the Surface debacle and numerous programme changes, some resellers have questioned this.

He said Sorgen's background in the US made him the "ideal fit" to work with partners as Microsoft lists "transforms" into a "devices and high value cloud services" company.

If Roskill was well thought of at Microsoft, after serving as channel chief for three years, it wasn't apparent in last night's press release, with Torossian simply confirming his move, not heaping praise on him.

In his blog, Roskill was not specific about his next role at Microsoft but confirmed he was returning to a developer role.

"My plan is to return to my roots of product development," he said.

There were comments from nine people - Microsoft has 640,000 partners worldwide - congratulating Roskill and wishing him well for the future but he didn't seem to have many fans in Blighty.

Partners told us that he didn't manage to fill the boots of his charismatic predecessor Alison Watson, and felt Roskill's skills were better suited to a back room role rather than front of house.

"He [Roskill] was not a natural presenter and never looked comfortable in that role," said one Microsoft partner.

The latest moves come days after it emerged that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is to retire, which some parters murmured was five years too late. ®

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