The lights are on
It's been a tumultuous week at Microsoft, and the reorganization we heard rumors of seems to be moving ahead. The implications for Xbox development are profound, as platform responsibilities might now be split across multiple departments.
According to Bloomberg, corporate vice president of Windows Program Management Julie Larson-Green is CEO Steve Ballmer's current pick to lead Xbox development. Unfortunately, she wouldn't be a direct replacement for Don Mattrick, who left the company to take over the CEO role at Zynga this week.
The reorganization will put all hardware, including Xbox and Surface tablets, under Larson-Green. Since she began at Microsoft in 1993, Larson-Green has been responsible for early versions of Internet Explorer, the overhaul to Microsoft Office, and interface design for Windows 7 and Windows 8. Larson-Green holds a master's degree in software engineering and a bachelor's degree in business administration.
Rumors also place Skype president Tony Bates at the head of a new division focused on acquisitions, mergers, and relationships with software developers. The latter is a crucial function for game platforms.
We've reached out to Microsoft and were told that the company does not comment on rumors or speculation.
Our TakeThere seem to be some good reasons why Microsoft would consider this reorganization and these appointments, but I've got concerns. With Microsoft's push to unify the user experience, placing hardware (including Xbox) underneath the person already responsible for Windows could speed development and improvements across products.
As Microsoft makes a bigger push with Smartglass, tighter integration with Surface would incentivize purchase of Microsoft's own tablets. Improving the user experience on Xbox, which has actually deteriorated as the 360's life cycle progressed thanks to increased advertising and cluttered navigation, would be a boon.
However, splitting up the core functions related to the Xbox platform seems like a mistake. If Bloomberg's sources are correct (and we've labeled this as rumor since even they are saying that the reorganization isn't finalized), then hardware and developer relationships are going to be in different silos.
What this means for the rest of the interactive entertainment division is unclear. Will existing teams be split up? Will the relationship with the also-rumored new cloud computing division complicate implementation of those services on Xbox One?
If this is how the reorganization is going to happen, Microsoft is going to need to come out of the gate with clarity. Unfortunately, that's one word that doesn't aptly describe them right now.
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She was the one responsible for Windows 8; IS MS trying to commit suicide?!?!?!?
Widows 8, enough said.....
So... Microsoft got tired of shooting itself in the foot and decided to shoot itself in the head? Everyone in the world, who's paying attention, knows MS disastrous XB1 reveal and subsequent blundering came from poor communication to the public. It seems that rather than learn from their mistakes and unify a successful business department and simplifying the message across dept. heads, MS would rather splinter it adding more people to the equation and complicating the issue. This has Steve Balmer's fingerprints all over it. A total disaster waiting to happen.
Ok, guess we'll see how this one handles it.
I disagree with "As Microsoft makes a bigger push with Smartglass, tighter integration with Surface would incentivize purchase of Microsoft's own tablets" as Smartglass is available on iOS (and I believe Android) as well.
I LIKE SONY!
Some days I wonder if I should keep a bag of popcorn by my computer when I read these articles.
Wow. Guess my brother-in-law's boss will being heading the future of X-Box then. Seriously, Windows is what's still holding up Microsoft in this unsure X-Box One future. M$ will have to push really hard to keep their console days bright.
I'm getting a Xbox One!