Obama Hires Former Microsoft Executive to Fix Healthcare.gov
With President Obama’s approval ratings taking a beating like never before due to the White House administration’s bungled launch of Healthcare.gov, the president has hired Kurt DelBene a former executive with Microsoft.
On the day Obama was to meet with different executives from a number of rivals of Microsoft, the White House administration announced the former Microsoft Office head would lead the effort in salvaging the still struggling website for ObamaCare.
DelBene took the reins of Office in 2010 and exited in July of this year. He will replace Jeffrey Zients as the person in charge of giving the government’s website for health insurance a complete overhaul. DelBene starts work Wednesday.
The Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said DelBene has a proven expertise in leading large and complex technology teams as well as in product development.
DelBene was one of five heads of divisions at Microsoft who reported to Steve Ballmer the CEO directly. The former Microsoft Executive oversaw the launch and subsequent expansion of Office 365, which is a web-based version of the company’s productivity suite and the company’s cornerstone for competing in the cloud.
Others might look a bit skeptical at Obama’s choice to save the government healthcare website as he comes from a huge company that has had its struggles to get it right on the Internet, rather than from a company that grew while on the web.
Google used that same argument when it bashed Office 365 in 2011. It claimed and some say rightfully so, that Microsoft had built a business on the client-server model, which was old school and does not play well on the Internet.
However, DelBene could be just what Obama needs. Google might be a web leader, but the majority of its experience falls into building different things for use on the web from scratch.
On the other hand, Microsoft has the experience of building its huge empire a software and distribution approach that is now turning obsolete.
If DelBene succeeded in dragging an organization such as that into a new style of doing things by leading Microsoft into the 21st century, he may succeed in doing just that for Healthcare.gov and the federal government.