Bob Muglia, Former Microsoft Server Head, Lands at Juniper Networks
In the new gig, Muglia will be in charge of Juniper’s software strategy and will report directly to Juniper CEO Kevin Johnson. Juniper sees its software business as a key differentiator from its larger but troubled rival, Cisco Systems.
“We are excited to have a leader of Bob’s caliber coming on board to lead Juniper’s software
initiatives, and I’m confident that his vision, management savvy and technical expertise will
bring tremendous value to our organization,” Juniper CEO Kevin Johnson said in a statement.
“As we continue to execute on our growth strategy centered on systems and software, we look forward to Bob playing a central role in extending our leadership position in network-powered software solutions.” Muglia’s first day at Juniper will be in October.
Muglia left Microsoft in January; he was the first of a series of senior Microsoft executives to depart during the first few months of the year. Microsoft later named Satya Nadella, who had previously run Microsoft’s Bing search engine business, to take over as head of the sever and tools business.
This also counts as the second time in recent memory that Juniper has hired a senior executive from Microsoft. The last was Brad Brooks, a former vice president at the Windows unit. Of course, Johnson, the CEO, is also a former Microsoft exec, having been president of Microsoft’s Platforms and Services Division until 2008 before taking over at Juniper. Muglia worked for him for a time.
With Muglia at the new software unit’s helm, Juniper aims to tighten its focus on systems and software as the two key areas of growth for the company.
I talked briefly with Muglia about his plans for his new job. He said that the new software solutions division will bring together software that sits on top of Juniper’s Junos operating system that runs on its networking gear to make that gear easier for companies and service providers to manage.
You don’t usually think of software as being a big part of networking equipment, but as it becomes an ever more important piece of cloud computing infrastructure, that’s changing, he said. “The reality is that the network has always had a lot of software, it’s just that it tends to be embedded in the devices so you don’t see it all that often. But applications need to have more direct control over the enterprise environment. It’s getting more important to have a strong software connection between business applications and the underlying infrastructure.”
Muglia is a 23-year Microsoft veteran — his last day there will be in early September — who joined from Rolm in 1988 and was the first product manager for SQL Server. Muglia had only been elevated to running the Server and Tools Business in 2008. It’s a $14.9 billion (fiscal 2010) business, and Microsoft’s third largest division behind the Windows/Windows Live Division and the Microsoft Business Division. On Muglia’s watch, STB sales grew more than 12 percent, and operating margins went from 31 percent to 37 percent. It was never, however, anywhere near as profitable as the other two divisions: Business Division reported operating margins of 63 percent in 2010 while Windows saw 70 percent, a fact that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer pointed on in his memo announcing Muglia’s departure.