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Eric Gales to be named the next Microsoft Canada president

Phil Sorgen leaves for a new job at Microsoft headquarters

The sweeping changes at Microsoft Canada have not stopped yet. The latest move sees Eric Gales being promoted to President, while Phil Sorgen leaves the country to return to headquarters (Redmond, Wash.) to lead the small and mid-market solutions and partners division (SM&P) or the U.S. market.

This is the second major move from the subsidiary in a month. In May, long time channel chief Lora Gernon was replaced by Corinne Sharp.

Ironically Gales was in charge of the SM&P for the Canadian market.

Sorgen leaves Microsoft Canada after three-and-half years at the helm. Sorgen replaced David Hemler, who is now running Best Buy for Business a year after long time Microsoft chief Frank Clegg announced his retirement.

Sorgen, a Top 5 Newsmaker of the year for CDN, had many successful launches in Canada such as Halo 3, Windows Live, Office 2007, Visual Studio 2008 and Windows Vista. Sorgen and team worked Microsoft’s Canadian partner ecosystem to sell a good portion of the company’s 88 million Vista licenses in that first year.

These launches help Sorgen to significantly increased Microsoft Canada revenues from $800 million to $1.3 billion during his time in the country, according to a published report.

Sorgen will be most noted for the work he did in securing an alliance agreement with Nortel Networks. The four-year alliance with Nortel was called ICA (Innovative Communications Alliance) and its goal was to bring a shared vision that unified communications based on integrating a single client, directory and presence engine with enterprise-grade telephony to the market place.

Another highlight for Sorgen was the opening of the Microsoft Canada Development Centre in Richmond, B.C. in the spring of 2008.

The development centre will be one of the many that are currently in operation outside of the company’s headquarters in Redmond, Wash.

In Gales, Microsoft Canada gets an executive who has spent a considerable amount of time in Canada and does not have to learn the unique nuances of this market.

Gales is a big proponent of the channel and of unified communications.

“The time has arrived to link all forms of communications together, and with the rate of adoption with instant messaging, for example, it can be an asset in the enterprise world. We need to get to people in real time, without e-mail, whether we are on the road or in a private place,” Gales said in a previous interview with CDN.

Gales, who started his career at Microsoft in the U.K. after working for Compaq Computers, introduced the Ultimate VAR program last year. The Ultimate VAR program brought more licensing value and rebates to solution providers who serve local communities.

“We figured there was no base value in that program and what we have seen is that smaller customers are more likely to buy for a local reseller,” said Gales.

Gales was also instrumental in bringing the Forefront security products to this market place. The subsidiary made a $50 million investment in marketing the Forefront product line back in 2007.