No war is without causalities, and the heated battle for ground in the mobile space is no exception. Confirming reports of a forthcoming shakeup, Microsoft announced today the departure of two of high-level leaders of its Entertainment and Devices division, a move that grants CEO Steve Ballmer more direct control over the course of the group.
The departing executives are Robbie Bach, president of the division, and J Allard, the senior VP of design and development. Neither position will be refilled. Rather, the respective senior vice presidents of the Mobile Communications and Interactive Entertainment businesses will start reporting directly to Ballmer come July 1.
[ Stay up on tech news and reviews from your smartphone at infoworldmobile.com. | Get the best iPhone and iPad apps for pros with our business iPhone apps finder. | Keep up on key mobile developments and insights with the Mobile Edge blog and Mobilize newsletter. ]
The timing of the departures is particularly striking. Bach worked closely on Windows Phone 7, yet he won't be onboard when platform is rolled out this fall. In Microsoft's official statement, Ballard says he's leaving to devote more time to his family and nonprofit work.
Allard, meanwhile, was rumored to have gone MIA from Microsoft shortly after the company pulled the plug on its much-anticipated Courier tablet computer. Technically, Allard isn't departing, according to Microsoft. Rather, "he will take an official role as an advisor in a strategic role for Ballmer and his leadership team."