With Microsoft's Xbox arguably the pick of current generation consoles (look what I just started there... oops), the Zune HD the most credible iPod touch challenger on the market and gaming on Windows Phone 7 looking cutting edge you'd obviously let the two most important people in your Entertainment and Devices division go wouldn't you?!
Bizarrely that is the startling news out of Redmond today with Microsoft confirming Entertainment & Devices president Robbie Bach (left) and E&D senior VP of design and development and Xbox creator J. Allard (right) have both left the company.
We await an official statement, but in an email to Microsoft employees Steve Ballmer said:
"Transitions are always hard. Robbie has been an instrumental part of so many key moments in Microsoft history–from the evolution of Office to the decision to create the first Xbox to pushing the company hard in entertainment overall. J as well has had a great impact in the market and on our culture, providing leadership in design, and in creating a passionate and involved Xbox community, and earlier being at the center of our work seizing the importance of the Web for the company."
Bach will be 'retiring' after 22 years at the company (aged 48?!) and Allard changing to an advisory role. Interestingly, news of the moves had leaked out earlier in the week, but with a more sour tone. These talked of major disagreements over the cancellation of Microsoft's exciting Courier tablet (video above - courtesy of Engadget) with the two men apparently keen supporters. That said, Microsoft is unlikely to air its dirty laundry in public so we may never know.
Either way, conspiracy theories will be rampant and question marks raised about the future of Microsoft's entertainment plans. Us? We're still just sad the Courier has gone...
Link: All Things Digital