Microsoft rearranges the deck chairs again; reorgs cellphone, games division

invisibleSHIELD case for iPad“Microsoft Corp. is expected to shake up the management of its division focused on videogames, mobile phones and other devices, in the wake of increasingly bruising competition from Apple Inc. and Google Inc. in the market for consumer devices, according to people familiar with the matter,” Nick Wingfield reports for The Wall Street Journal.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s time for the annual Microsoft reorg!

Wingfield continues, “The Redmond, Wash., software company could announce major organizational changes at its Entertainment & Devices Division as early as this week, those people said. The division includes Microsoft’s Xbox videogame business and Windows Phone, an operating system for mobile phones. One executive in the division, J Allard, the chief experience officer and chief technology officer of the group, is expected to leave that role following Microsoft’s recent decision to shut down a tablet PC development project known internally as Courier, that Mr. Allard was overseeing, people familiar with the matter said. But the organizational shakeup is broader than Mr. Allard’s departure from his role, these people add.”

MacDailyNews Take: The Apple wannabes at Microsoft are legion: Windows wants to be a Mac, Zune wants to be an iPod+iTunes, Windows Phone wants to be an iPhone, Allard wanted to be Steve Jobs, etc. None of them ever enters the same solar system, much less ballpark.

Wingfield reports, “Microsoft’s woes in mobile phones are particularly troubling for the company. Although it was an early player in the market for the sophisticated wireless phones known as smartphones, Microsoft has stumbled badly in recent years with its Windows Mobile operating system for handsets. The company’s software has lagged behind cutting-edge technologies found in Apple’s iPhone… During the first quarter, new shipments of handsets based on Microsoft’s mobile software fell to 6.8% of the worldwide market from 10.2% during the same period the prior year, according to Gartner Inc. Google’s Android operating system jumped to 9.6% from 1.6% during those same periods, while Apple’s iPhone rose to 15.4% from 10.5%, Gartner estimated.”

Full article here.

Mary Jo Foley reports for ZDNet, “Over the past mont or so, I’ve been asking around about Allard’s whereabouts. One of my sources who has been a pretty reliable tipster in the past told me that Allard is on sabbatical and is unlikely to return to Microsoft… Word inside was Allard was none too happy about the killing off of Courier and has finally made good on his (what sounds like they may have been regular) threats about leaving the company all together. (Another person with whom I communicated claimed CEO Steve Ballmer showed Allard the door because of disagreements regarding the Courier’s potential.)”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Courier’s potential was nil. It was even more vaporous than HP’s fake slate. Even Balmy could see Courier has no potential, so it had to be pretty obvious to just about everyone. Oh, but J Allard, with his oh-so-cool name, is supposedly a genius, you say? Uh, Zune.

Still, with Apple about to leave Microsoft in the dust, we’re getting worried for Monkey Boy. This is at least the fifth major reorganization at Microsoft in the last five years! Even Microsoft shareholders have to wake up eventually, right? So, let’s offer up our toast: May Steve Ballmer remain Microsoft CEO for as long as it takes!

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]


  1. Wasn’t “J” Allard supposed to be Microsoft’s answer to Steve Jobs? Seriously, the guy changed his first name legally to the letter J. How full of himself he must be!

  2. Ballmer’s days may be numbered with Apple close to passing MS in market cap. Would Bill Gates return if Ballmer retired to spend more time with his family? I say give Ballmer 5 more years in charge.

  3. Can someone buy Steve Ballmer some more time. The Microsoft Titanic hit the iceberg and has only partly sunk. The life boats and life preservers are just now hitting the cold dark water.

  4. Hey MDN….. The Zune and Zune HD are NOT terrible machines. They are OK quality and feature mp3 players. They work. I have read enough articles on the other side to indicate that, while the iPods have better features (and of course iTunes) they do work.

    OF course, Windows for music is a terrible idea, but ,,,,,, well…… you know. 🙁 You cannot have everything. And Brown???????

    Then thing to remember here is that Zune, Android Incredible, etc are all good products and if they had come out first THEY would have been the game changer — (but they had no one to follow)….

    But with Apple coming out first and early then these products (which would have gotten the RAVE reviews earlier) are now only also ran items that have to yell some odd spec they have to get heard.

    I do not think we understand what a WORLD CHANGER Apple is right now.

    iPod…… new entry in old market………. totally changes market and world forever.

    iPhone…… new entry in old market…….. totally changes market and world forever.

    And making new / upgraded products that kill their old products is still an unheard of concept. Why spend money until the old cash cow is dead. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

    So, “On ward Apple, On ward!” (from Galaxy Quest)

    Just a thought,

  5. @BeyondtheTech

    Bill Gates doesn’t know any more about technology than Steve Ballmer. Gates just happened to be in the right place at the right time to use his daddy’s advice on how to create predatory contracts and partnership agreements, and then how to flaunt regulations. Bill was definitely better at immoral wolfishness, not at understanding technological products.

  6. Microsoft: “We need new copiers! The old ones were stifling innovation and hurting the consumers!” Has anyone at that company ever had an original idea?

  7. MS is not the same beast it was in the 90s. It is hurt, it is flailing, it is struggling–all the while, it keeps making money on Office and Windows desktop to keep running.

    I for one have no wish to MS fail (it is not too big to do so). And I mean fail as in go under, and shrink, etc. MS has many problems. But, it can be a great force for competition, even if only to force Apple and Google to keep improving and changing.

    While I love Apple products in general, and hope Apple transcends MS and Windows not just in market cap but in market share, I have no desire to see Apple become king. Power corrupts. I want Apple hungry to keep churning out better, innovative products. And yes, I am thinking post-Jobs here as well. I suffered in the 90s as a Mac user (although that sub $10 share price is now particularly attractive).

  8. I think this is how it went down…

    J Allard “I present to you, our response to the iPod… and we’re calling it……….Zune!”

    S Ballmer”Get the fuck out of my office, you little shit. Someone throw a chair at this homo, please?”

  9. Google and Microsoft are natural enemies. They compete directly in search and in mobile OSes. A weak Microsoft strengthens Google. I’d rather see a good counterbalance to Google than a weak Microsoft.

  10. And just when has M$’s ‘Entertainment & Devices Division’ ever turned a profit? How does ‘never’ sound? If it weren’t for the Windows and Office divisions ability to *illegally* leverage their monopoly, M$ would have SIDAGTMBTTS long ago…

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