Shakeup at Microsoft?

The eminent Wall Street Journal is reporting late last night that Microsoft may be significantly altering its corporate structure around the division focused on videogames, mobile phones and other consumer devices (e.g. Zune, Ford Sync).

As we reported earlier, J Allard is sadly still expected to be leaving Microsoft. The WSJ is also backing up the story that his departure is a result of the Courier cancellation.

Likewise, Robbie Back, who oversees the Xbox Live and Mobile division, may also be part of the re-organization process, reportedly as a result of Microsoft's continued poor performance against Google and Apple. This is especially evident as we are on the eve of Apple surpassing Microsoft for the #2 spot on the S&P 500, which though not ultimately important, is certainly symbolic and revealing.

This may also just be routine with Microsoft preparing for the emergence of Windows Phone 7 and Project Natal in the fall. Either way, we hope it works out.

Update: Robbie Bach is retiring in the fall; J Allard is leaving; transition plan detailed (opens in new tab)

Update 2Leadership Profiles: Andy Lees & Don Mattrick (opens in new tab). Andy Lees, who will lead the Windows Phone 7/KIN teams, will report directly to Ballmer starting July 1st

Update 3: Ballmer's letter to the employees about the changes (via ZDNet)

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • The timing might seem weird, but I think it's just a coincidence with the whole Allard bit. With devices, specifically mobile becoming more important it makes sense for MS to re-org the E&D group to better prepare for the future now that WP7 is getting close and so on. I hope the changes they make mean the devision can move faster than it has in the past with updates and so on. Something I think was the reason behind this move from the get go.
  • I hope they can the foolish persons behind the UI for Windows Phone 7.
  • There is nothing wrong with the WP7 UI, and by extention the Zune UI, Media center UI, and Xbox 360 UI. I get some people love their grid of icons and random gadgets, but I for one love the new UI and overall rethink of how a phone should be. And yes, it's a phone, I still use them to make calls.
  • I don't want a phone. I want a Pocket PC. Take your icons and gadgets and (usefulness) away from the Mac OS or Windows 7 and tell me the usability is the same. If I wanted a multimedia device I'd purchase one, this was suppose to be an extension of our personal computers into our pockets. Microsoft killed that with this goober minimalistic UI in WP7.