Microsoft's Dhillon Joins TASER

In what might seem to be a shocking business move, Jas Dillon, former head of business development and M&A at Microsoft, has been named chief strategy officer and general manager of the new TASER Virtual Systems Division.

A former CEO and Fortune 100 mogul, Dhillon will oversee "all new product and business development" for TASER International, according to an announcement issued yesterday by the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based maker of electric stun devices. Dhillon will be in charge of enhancing the company's strategy and growth plans.

TASER doesn't consider its devices to be "simple weapons," according to company spokesperson Hilary Gibeaut. They have networking capabilities too.

"Every device we make is a microprocessor-controlled device, capable as serving as a node on a network," she said. "Our devices generate information about how they are used, and many of our new devices can be remotely activated by a local user, or a user over a network. To truly take advantage of these capabilities, the software infrastructure becomes the glue that ties the hardware together. Think of the iPod/iTunes ecosystem that Apple has developed."

Dhillon will work on a number of TASER product lines. One of them is TASER AXON, which Gibeaut described as "a tactical networkable computer that combines advanced audio-video record/capture capabilities with tactical communications." AXON is worn by public safety personnel and first responders to record event communications including radio and video.

Another project is TASER XREP, a microprocessor-controlled electronic projectile that can maximize incapacitation from long range. In addition, Dhillon will oversee the development of several unnamed, unannounced products in TASER's evolving product line.

"As our emerging technologies gain greater communication and computational capabilities, the development of sophisticated software architectures and a fully integrated product roadmap are imperative strategic initiatives for TASER International," said TASER Founder and CEO Rick Smith in a prepared statement.

Dhillon served as a senior executive at Microsoft and was a key part of the software giant's "transition to a software plus service business model," according to TASER's press release. He also led a team responsible for "business development, strategy, product innovation and mergers/acquisitions for Microsoft Office Live."

About the Author

Herb Torrens is an award-winning freelance writer based in Southern California. He managed the MCSP program for a leading computer telephony integrator for more than five years and has worked with numerous solution providers including HP/Compaq, Nortel, and Microsoft in all forms of media.

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