GamesBeat

Microsoft’s head of Windows takes over Xbox division

Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices division is no more.

In a memo today, Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer revealed a massive, company-wide executive restructuring. As part of this reorganization, Julie Larson-Green, who used to oversee Windows, will lead the new Devices and Studios Engineering Group. The Xbox platform falls under this division.

“Julie Larson-Green will lead this group and will have all hardware development and supply chain from the smallest to the largest devices we build,” Ballmer wrote in a memo. “Julie will also take responsibility for our studios experiences including all games, music, video, and other entertainment.”

This internal shakeup at Microsoft comes only about a week after former Xbox chief Don Mattrick left the company. Mattrick is now the chief executive officer at social-gaming company Zynga.

“This new structure allows us to move faster and provide more value for our customers and partners with Xbox as well as align our resources to win in this devices and services era,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement provided to GamesBeat. “The existing IEB leadership will now report into the new Microsoft structure and we remain focused on shipping Xbox One and the amazing experiences we have planned for this holiday.”

Larson-Green is best-known for her work running the Windows division where she focused her efforts on the user-experience design. In that role, she had the entire Windows team reporting to her. That included somewhere between 1,200 and 1,400 programmers, researchers, and managers.

She started her career at Microsoft in 1993 as a program manager. She moved on to the Internet Explorer team to improve the user interface for IE 3.0 and IE 4.0. In 1997, she moved on to the Microsoft Office team to work on the FrontPage HTML editor.

Although she has two decades of experience, Larson-Green does not come from a background steeped in gaming. That’s potentially a negative for someone in charge of the Xbox hardware and software groups, but the Xbox isn’t the only thing she is overseeing. The Devices and Studios Engineering Group is responsible for Windows Phone, Surface, and computer hardware.

Larson-Green will have to craft an overarching vision for all of these products, but the gaming-specific decisions will probably fall to the team directly beneath her. That means executives like corporate vice president Phil Harrison and Microsoft Studios head Phil Spencer.


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