REDMOND, Wash. — Microsoft Corp. said Tuesday that two key executives from the group that makes the Xbox 360 game system, Windows mobile phones and Zune media players are leaving the company.
The shakeup comes at a critical time for Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices division. The company's phone software and Zune both lag those of competitors, notably Apple Inc. Microsoft just overhauled its mobile phone system and started selling a new brand of phones, called Kin, for younger users. And the company is hoping to improve Xbox sales with an upcoming video game system that understands body movements, code-named "Project Natal."
Robbie Bach, a 22-year Microsoft veteran, has led the division as president since it was formed in 2005. He was chief Xbox officer before the division was created. Previously he served as the manager of Microsoft's business operations in Europe and led Microsoft Office marketing. In a statement, Bach, 48, said he wants to dedicate more time to his family and his nonprofit work.
J Allard, one of the technical and creative minds behind the development of the Xbox and the Zune, is also leaving. Allard, 41, who has been with Microsoft for 18 years, has been the chief technology officer and chief experience officer for the Entertainment and Devices division. Allard will continue to advise CEO Steve Ballmer.
Bach will retire this fall and will not be replaced. Instead, Don Mattrick and Andy Lees, the current leaders of the video game business and the mobile phone business, respectively, will report directly to Ballmer. Microsoft did not say when Allard would leave or announce any replacement plans.
Microsoft's entertainment division accounted for 11 percent of the company's revenue and 3 percent of its income in the most recent quarter. Microsoft gets the bulk of its revenue from its Windows and Office products.