Microsoft Departures Shake up Entertainment Group

Two longtime Microsoft Entertainment and Devices division executives are leaving the company in a move that will give CEO Steve Ballmer more control over the group.

Robbie Bach, president of the Entertainment and Devices division, will retire later this year after 22 years at Microsoft. He won't be replaced. Instead, the heads of the mobile communications business and the interactive entertainment business -- both parts of the division -- will report directly to Ballmer starting July 1. The division is responsible for Microsoft consumer products including Windows Phone 7, Xbox, Zune and Project Natal, the company's newest gaming offering.

In a statement, Bach said that he plans to spend more time with his family and his nonprofit work with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Ballmer, in a statement, called Bach a close personal friend and said he was sad to see him go.

Bach will work with Ballmer and other leaders to ensure a smooth transition and is planning to leave the company in the fall, late in the third quarter or early in the fourth.

Microsoft also said that J Allard, senior vice president of design and development for the Entertainment and Devices division, will leave the company. He has been at Microsoft for 19 years.

However, Allard plans to take an official role as a strategic adviser for Ballmer, the company said.

Microsoft also announced a couple other organizational changes. Antoine Leblond, senior vice president of the Office Productivity Applications group, will become senior vice president of the Windows Services team. Kurt DelBene, senior vice president in the Office Business Productivity group, will take on all of the engineering responsibilities for the Office business.

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