Microsoft Possibly Planning Shakeup of Zune/Xbox Division

Wed, May 26, 2010


J Allard of Microsoft

A recent report in the Wall Street Journal suggests that Microsoft is about to shakeup their entertainment division containing the Xbox, Zune and Mobile departments with reorganization and a few new faces.

While Microsoft has yet to bring any kind of official word to these reports, the shakeup appears to involve a complete restructuring of the division. The first hint of the shakeup started with the speculation that J Allard had been ousted from Microsoft. Allard was previously known as the Xbox 360 evangelist at E3 2005 and ‘Father of the Zune’ during its development.

There’s no doubt that the division is bringing in money, mainly from the strong performance of Xbox hardware and software. As of now, Microsoft has sold more than 4o million Xbox 360′s and overtook its predecessor handily in total amount sold. Not only that, estimates indicate that eight games are sold for every Xbox 360 console, something no other console maker can make claim to.

The entertainment division is also the direct competitor to Apple with the Zune attempting to take even a slice of the iPod’s strong 75% marketshare for portable music devices. Microsoft not only competes with Apple in the  music devices area, but in the mobile world too with Windows Mobile which has been steadily declining with the rising star Android and Apple’s iPhone chomping at the bit.

Allard was supposedly working on the Courier, which was cancelled before it was even announced. Speculation say the project was axed after seeing that they could not release it as a direct competitor to Apple’s iPad. While Allard is not gone from Microsoft, he is currently on a leave of absence following the cancellation.

While it’s unknown what exactly the shakeups will include and if there will be any big casualties with the maneuver, you can bet it will likely be dramatic, especially in the Zune division where there has been no progress in marketshare since the launch of the project in 2006. The Xbox division is doing well, and the Mobile sector has its sights set on Windows Phone 7 set for launch later this year.

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Talor is a Contributing Editor at Frisky Mongoose focusing on the mobile side of the social gaming world.

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