Longtime Microsoft researcher moves to head up new Azure hardware division

As Microsoft continues to see success with its cloud business, the company has set up a new Azure hardware division with a prominent Microsoft researcher heading up its operations. Doug Burger announced this week that he is taking on the role of a Technical Fellow for the new division, following a 27-year research career spent at Microsoft and the University of Texas (via Geekwire).

It's unclear what Microsoft's focus is with this new division, but it's likely more of an organizational move. The company has a history of developing its own hardware designed to power its Azure services, and a dedicated hardware division could be intended to consolidate those efforts.

For his part, Burger was involved in designing the field-programmable gate array (FPGA) chips that Microsoft uses for specialized cloud workloads. As GeekWire points out, Burger was most recently involved in running Microsoft's Project Brainwave, which is a "deep learning acceleration platform" focused on using FPGAs for machine-learning.

The formation of the new Azure hardware group follows a major internal reorganization at Microsoft, intended to focus the company more on the future of personal computing and the cloud, including work on artificial intelligence, ambient computing, and even quantum computing. Though the initial reorganization was announced in March, Microsoft has continued to make more internal moves in its wake, with the most recent phase occurring in May.