Microsoft’s Bach and Allard out as Ballmer assumes larger role

“Microsoft is reorganizing its Entertainment and Devices Division (EDD) and when it’s finished the two people that have largely defined it for the past few years will be gone. EDD group president Robbie Bach and J Allard, the group’s chief experience officer and chief technology officer, are leaving those positions and Microsoft as well,” John Paczkowski reports for AllThingsD. “Bach is said to be retiring; Allard — who’s been on sabbatical recently — is simply moving on, though he’ll remain an advisor to the company.”

“Interestingly, Microsoft isn’t replacing Bach. Instead the company is splitting his responisbilities between Senior VPs Andy Lees and Don Mattrick, who will oversee the company’s gaming and mobile businesses, respectively,” Paczkowski reports. “Mattrick and Lees will report directly to CEO Steve Ballmer who is evidently taking on more of a role in Microsoft’s consumer devices efforts, which — with the exception of the Xbox 360 — have stumbled in recent years.”

The full text of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s memo announcing the moves int he full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The bigger the role Ballmer assumes, the better.

Excerpts from a BusinessWeek interview with Apple CEO Steve Jobs, October 12, 2004:

Steve Jobs: Apple had a monopoly on the graphical user interface for almost 10 years. That’s a long time. And how are monopolies lost? Think about it. Some very good product people invent some very good products, and the company achieves a monopoly. But after that, the product people aren’t the ones that drive the company forward anymore. It’s the marketing guys or the ones who expand the business into Latin America or whatever. Because what’s the point of focusing on making the product even better when the only company you can take business from is yourself? So a different group of people start to move up. And who usually ends up running the show? The sales guy… Then one day, the monopoly expires for whatever reason. But by then the best product people have left, or they’re no longer listened to. And so the company goes through this tumultuous time, and it either survives or it doesn’t.

BusinessWeek: Is this common in the industry?
Steve Jobs: Look at Microsoft — who’s running Microsoft?

BusinessWeek: Steve Ballmer.
Steve Jobs: Right, the sales guy. Case closed.

Hoist yer mugs! May Steve Ballmer remain Microsoft CEO for as long at it takes!


  1. Today feels more like December 25 than May 25, as a larger role for Ballmer is surely a Christmas present for AAPL shareholders. Egg nogs for everyone!

  2. It’s amazing to me the number of people that get so caught up in the corporate politics and marketing that they believe the reason Apple is doing well is because they have great marketing. While their marketing is good, why is it hard for some people to realize that it’s not that complicated: they simply make great products that are a joy to use.

  3. Ha! I just read Ballmer’s statement. He talks about Bach leaving. He said “Robbie has always had great timing…”
    Yep, he’s leaving before the plummet begins!

  4. It’s interesting to see how this is playing among Microsoft employees. Check the Comments ( following the article announcing these changes on the Mini-Microsoft blog ( It’s clear that the folks in the trenches at MS see the departure of Robbie Bach from the Entertainment and Devices (E/D) Division as a real loss and the increased role of Steve Ballmer as a disaster. To quote just one employee: “Holy Smoke, Ballmer is now in charge. E/D is in deep $&!t now!”.

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