Robbie Bach, the man who led the Microsoft department that included the Xbox division, will be leaving the company after 22 years, giving Microsoft the chance to reinvigorate its place in the market.
Bach was in charge of the "Entertainment and Devices" unit of Microsoft. In addition to the Xbox, that included the company's mobile phone division as well as the Zune, two areas in which Microsoft isn't exactly winning.
Bach is leaving of his own accord. In fact, Microsoft will probably be sad to see him leave. "For the past 22 years, Robbie has personified creativity, innovation, and drive. With this spirit, he has led a division passionately devoted to making Microsoft successful in interactive entertainment and mobility," said Steve Ballmer in a statement.
Microsoft's SVP of design and development, J Allard, is also leaving the company. Mr. Allard had provided a substantial amount of contributions to the Xbox 360 over the years.
The departures come at a bad time for Microsoft. The Xbox 360 is just now starting to lose momentum, and the major launch of Windows Phone 7 is just around the corner. However, it does offer Microsoft a much-needed opportunity to fill those shoes with fresh blood. Allard was with Microsoft for 19 years, so these two guys were the definition of the establishment, regardless of how much "outside the box" thinking they tried to do.
Or, if Microsoft really wants to reshape the company, I say that the Xbox needs to be its own business unit. Stop lumping it in with the Zune and mobile phones. The gaming unit of Microsoft is huge enough that the Xbox deserves its own, pure focus.
Bach's resignation will be effective this fall. His responsibilities will be shared by other executives until a replacement is found.
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