Feeds

Windows Phone chief and Xbox brain exit Microsoft

Mobile on the Bach foot

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

If there's a job more thankless than leading Microsoft's perpetually loss-making online business operations, it's running the Redmond unit that handles Windows Mobile and Xbox.

When consumer gadgets were flying off the shelves last Christmas, Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices unit actually saw sales drop — by 10 per cent.

The group's phone OS has been losing market share to Google and Apple. Windows Mobile fell four per centage points to 15.7 per cent of the US smartphone market between October 2009 and January 2010, while Android climbed 4.3 per centage points to 7.1 per cent and Apple's iPhone held steady at a quarter of the market.

Having repeatedly downplayed these problems, E&D president Robbie Bach is now quitting after 22 years with Microsoft, and chief executive Steve Ballmer is taking control of E&D. Senior vice president Don Mattrick stays in charge of the Interactive Entertainment Business (which handles Xbox and planned Wii-wannabe Project Natal), with senior vice president Andy Lees remaining in charge of mobile (Windows Phone), and both report to Ballmer.

No actual reason was given for Bach's exit, with Bach apparently retiring from the company.

If history is any teacher, Mattrick or Lees will be promoted to the head of E&D — unless the group is re-orged out of existence.

Re-org is one of Microsoft's favorite past times, and the summer is high season for such activities. Earlier this year, insiders said that Windows Phone 7 would be lopped from E&D and folded into the main Windows and Windows Live Group under Windows 7 rising star and Ballmer favorite Steven Sinofsky.

Sinofsky had rather helpfully pointed to Bach's "continued failure in the mobile space" during Microsoft's annual December strategy review, according to insiders.

Also following Bach out, after 19 years, is the brain behind the Xbox console: senior vice president of design and development J Allard. Allard will remain as an advisor to Ballmer, helping incubate new ideas and working on design and UI, Ballmer said.

Allard managed the technical development of the Xbox, now a best-selling franchise that took Microsoft into the hardware business. Recently, Allard managed development of the Zune media player. Allard also championed Microsoft's planned dual-screen tablet competitor to the iPad, which has been scrapped by the company. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.