Microsoft's Changing of the Guard

By  |  Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 10:20 am

Microsoft has announced that two executives with a total of 41 years at the company are stepping down. Robbie Bach, president of its Entertainment & Devices Division–home to the Xbox and Windows Phone–is going to retire in the fall. And J Allard, the division’s senior VP of design & development, is leaving Microsoft, although he’ll remain an advisor. Who instigated the change? I dunno, but but¬†the guys who will preside over games and phones–Don Mattrick and Andy Lees, respectively–are already in place; it’s just that they’ll report directly to Steve Ballmer rather than to Robbie Bach. So it doesn’t represent an attempt at dramatically new thinking. And it sounds like Microsoft will no longer bundle games and phones into one group, which sounds logical enough.

One of the most intriguing questions about the future of Microsoft–and the future of the tech business in general–is whether it’ll figure out how to become a major player in mobile operating systems–and if so, what does the trick. Windows Phone 7 looks promising, but it’s intentionally limited in its ambition–an attempt to get back on track with an OS that relatively few things, but does them well. There are those who argue that Microsoft should give up on phones, but I don’t see how Microsoft can be Microsoft in five or ten years unless it has a thriving business involving mobile platforms. Andy Lees is now the person charged with making that happen. I’d love to know just what is strategy is–not so much for the next year or so, but for 2012 and beyond…


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2 Comments For This Post

  1. PJ Curnan Says:

    If you look at the companies that Microsoft is losing to they are all led by technology people. Time for Ballmer to go.

  2. pond Says:

    I second the Ballmer comment. To me it looks like he’s throwing underlings into the hopper to save his own skin and pass the blame. But there’s only been one CEO at Microsoft since 2000 – the company’s worst decade by far as measured by any metric.

    Ballmer’s the one who should be the ‘advisor’ today.

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    […] David Worthington  |  Posted at 5:12 pm on Tuesday, May 25, 2010 The retirement of Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices (E&D) division, made […]