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All posts tagged "j allard"


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pioneer Studios Closed by Microsoft

Posted by Adan Galvan in "Windows Phone News" @ 06:00 AM

http://news.cnet.com/8301-10805_3-20064439-75.html

"The idea behind Pioneer was to breathe a culture of innovation into the all-too-often stolid company. As it's grown, Microsoft has become increasingly bureaucratic, a place where creativity could often be crushed under a mountain of meetings and dependencies on other Microsoft products."

Although today is a huge day for Windows Phone, let's take a moment to mourn the loss of one of the most innovative labs at Microsoft. Pioneer Studios, first opened up by J Allard (the executive behind the Xbox), had the mission of innovating and creating products that could help Microsoft compete against competitors such as Apple. The dual-screen courier was the most famous and sought-after product to ever be announced, but unfortunately the product was scrapped before it ever hit the light of day. The studio was involved in much more than just the Courier, having lent their skills in the development of Windows Phone 7, Zune, and the failed Kin. Although the studio is closing, let's hope that the employees and their ideas persist and find their way into other Microsoft products.


Friday, May 28, 2010

It's Official Robbie Bach and J Allard are Stepping Down

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Windows Phone News" @ 04:00 PM

I posted about this rumour recently, but now it's official: J Allard has left he building...although it seems he's going to be sticking around a little bit, working on special projects for Steve Ballmer. Robbie Bach, on the other hand, is full-on retiring and leaving Microsoft. Bach has worked at Microsoft for 22 years, a long time in the tech industry. Who's stepping in to fill the voice? No one for now:

"Underscoring the strength of the leadership teams in place for the entertainment and mobile businesses, the company announced that Senior Vice President Don Mattrick will continue to lead the Interactive Entertainment Business and Senior Vice President Andy Lees will continue to lead the Mobile Communications Business. Each will report directly to CEO Steve Ballmer effective July 1."

Ballmer says that Bach just wanted to retire - it's not a reflection of his performance. J Allard wrote a really great letter about his time at Microsoft - it's worth reading, but this one quote really stood out to me:

"Please, put my headcount and that cardkey "invitation" to good use. Find a college student that claims we don't get it and blogs tirelessly about our lack of agility. Track down an EE that has been focusing on fuel cells and has radical thoughts about power management. Or a social networking whiz who is tired of building little islands that go hot and cold and can't break the mainstream. Hire a designer who's given shape to 2 decades of beautiful automobiles and thinks we can sculpt technology to better connect to users. Infuse them with our purpose. Give them the tools. Give them lots of rope. Learn from them. Support where they take you. Invite them to redefine The Tribe."

I couldn't agree more. If anything has been shown by the past few years of Microsoft's performance in the mobile space, they need to bring in more fresh blood, with fresh ideas, and continue to agitate and move the company forward. Zune is still a USA-only product, Microsoft has no OS capable of running on thin and light tablets, and Windows Phone 7 is long overdue. Microsoft is in a rough spot with all things mobility. Good thing the Xbox 360 and Windows 7 rock!


Friday, May 21, 2010

Has J Allard Left Microsoft?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Windows Phone Talk" @ 10:30 AM

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/microsoft...s-j-allard/6256

"Over the past month 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. His name is still in the Global Address Book inside Microsoft, I hear, and his bio page is still unaltered on the Microsoft Corporate Web site, where he still is listed as Chief Experience Officer and Chief Technology Officer, Entertainment and Devices Division."

The rumour mill is saying that J Allard has left Microsoft - and possibly over the fate of the now-dead Courier project. If it's true that he left Microsoft, it bodes ill for the company. Products are rarely truly created by one person, but teams and divisions of people can certainly be inspired by one person. Microsoft isn't typically known for having very creative, boundary-pushing people working for them, but J Allard was both of those. If he's really gone, I truly wonder what the devices and entertainment division - which includes Windows Phone, Xbox, and Zune - is going to do.

[Silly side note: my one and only J Allard moment was when I walked past him going into a bathroom at the Microsoft campus, inside the old Zune team building...and he happened to have a broken arm in a cast at the time. Memories, meeeemories...]


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