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Microsoft to revamp devices group in wake of iPhone, Courier

updated 10:05 pm EDT, Mon May 24, 2010

J Allard's exit from MS part of larger plan

Microsoft is planning a major overhaul of its Entertainment and Devices group at the top level, inside sources said this evening [sub. required]. The extent of the cuts aren't known, but well-known Xbox pioneer J Allard's decision to quit over the Courier's end would be one part of a "broader" move meant to stave off gains by Apple's iPhone and Google's Android platform. The Entertainment and Devices section covers not only the Xbox and Zune devices but also Windows Phone.

The company's Windows Mobile has been one of Microsoft's longest-suffering groups outside of its Internet services such as Bing. Analysts at Gartner noted last week that Windows Mobile's market share plunged to 6.8 percent in the winter as its aging design has been quickly dropped by the public in favor of Android and iPhone. Last year was also defined by phone builders abandoning Windows Mobile for some or even all of their phone lineups and usually benefiting from dropping the platform. Motorola and Sony Ericsson both reclaimed some smartphone market share and either reduced or eliminated losses, while HTC has had some of its best success after switching primarily to Android.

The Courier's end is rumored to have come after a personal disagreement with Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer over its potential success in the market. It was to be a dual-screen tablet based on the same basic framework as Windows Phone 7 but optimized for a journal-like reading and collaboration environment. While its details were never officially unveiled, it would have faced a major challenge in competing against the hot-selling iPad several months later.

by MacNN Staff



  1. stirrell

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Talk about slow to react. I have to admit that I think Windows 7 Phone looks potentially cool (at least it is unique) but it looks like they might be too late to get into the game. The user base and number of applications that the iPhone and Android will have by the time 7 Phone comes out will be hard to overcome.

  1. cmoney

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Get rid of Ballmer and the old school!

    You might not know it, but there are actually smart people inside of Microsoft! There are actually people inside of Microsoft that have GOOD ideas! Ballmer is sucking this place dry and the world is suffering because Microsoft is one of the few places that has the resources to be an actual competitor* to Apple. And competition is good no matter what the fanboys think.

    *And by competitor, I mean a competitor in actual innovation and new ways of computing, not just revenues or features or what have you.

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It's like if you hired Steve Jobs and ignored him

    if you hired Steve Jobs, and then ignored everything he had to say, what would be the point?

    J Allard was an accomplished person, that understood the importance of design. He was hired to add his talents to Micrsoft...and its not as if they didn't still need him....what is Ballmer thinking "mission accomplished"??? Lord...they still needed him and more...

    But given the fact that MS lacked the ability any longer to accept that input and killed there most innovative product in a long time....I would not invest in Microsoft right now.

    Yes, they still have a desktop monopoly. Yes, their 3rd place position in databases is still solid. Most businesses are not yet using the free alternatives to Office...but I don't see dynamic growth anywhere, and their old cash cows are vulnerable.

  1. Darchmare

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I agree

    The problem wasn't Allard, the problem was (and is) Ballmer.

    Why Microsoft shareholders aren't demanding his head on a platter, I have no idea.

  1. spyintheskyuk

    Joined: Dec 1969


    comment title

    Microsoft might be lucky to survive at all in he long term the way things are going rather than the gradual decline as I previously saw. If they can afford to sideline Allard then I doubt any of these other so called smart employees will be listened too. The problem is a cultural one that no individual no matter how smart, powerful and innovative can seem to overcome but takes the blame for what are corporate inadequacies, the proverbial scapegoat for Ballmers errors.

    Because of that Microsoft has never been the appropriate company to represent competition to Apple or almost anyone else. They have simply been a chain around innovation within the tech industry. Their demise will be a freeing of technological innovation that they have held back for years. Without Apple either there would have been no real innovation at all or it would have happened elsewhere and the American economy would have only been increasingly marginalised. Hopefully Allard will find a company (or start his own) that better reflects his vision because Microsoft never was.

  1. lkrupp

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Mind share...

    Microsoft has lost the war overall. People now think of Apple or Google when you mention technology and innovation. Microsoft elicits a yawn these days. People no longer expect innovation from Ballmer and Co. Microsoft just sits there and no one is interested in what they have coming up. Well, almost no one since they do have a few fanboys themselves. I saw my first Kin commercial last night and thought, "That's all they have?"

  1. coffeetime

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: comment title

    Without Apple, we all will be still using DOS to navigate internet.

  1. nat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    no worries

    ms isn't going anywhere. this is the company that has, for over a decade now, lost hundreds of millions of dollars every single year on it's internet strategies - msn, hotmail, search (whatever they're calling it now) have never made a single nickel in profit. ever. pretty danged funny that they wanted to buy yahoo which actually runs a business based on the bottom line model.

    zune, no profit, no break even, just more losses. and we all know how much xbox lost before a profitable quarter (enough to build another international space station, that's how much).

    as long as the cash cows keep coming home ms will stay in the game, free market be damned.
    ms slogan: we'll pump money into it until you die.

  1. loudpedal

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Microsoft is a mess and Ballmer is the Chief Mess Maker. If there's some semblance of a plan, it sure isn't apparent from the outside. While I agree with "no worries" about the fact that MS has some cash cows (Office and Win 7) that floats a lot of poor business decisions, make no mistake about it, Google (and possibly others) have their sights set on Microsoft's cash cows. While Office won't go away in the near term, Google Docs will keep getting better and better and could eventually replace Office - as long as we keep searching with Google.

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