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January 31, 2007

Microsoft Zune exec Bryan Lee bails out

Posted by David Hunter at 7:22 PM ET.

Bryan Lee, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President, Entertainment Business, who in December 2005 took over “as head of a new entertainment business charged with overseeing the company’s growing digital efforts in music, television and video,” has decided to move on:

A senior Microsoft executive who oversaw the launch of its Zune digital music player plans to leave the company, the world’s largest software maker said on Wednesday.

Bryan Lee, corporate vice president at Microsoft’s entertainment and devices division, also played a critical role in shaping the Xbox game console business and the introduction of its Internet Protocol television software.

Lee is a key deputy of Robbie Bach, head of Microsoft’s entertainment and devices division. J Allard, a rising star within Microsoft and one of the early Xbox leaders, will now take full responsibility for the Zune business.

Lee plans to leave the company in the next several weeks to pursue personal interests, Microsoft said.

It could be a variety of things of course, but the natural inclination is to view this as a rearrangement of the deck chairs after HMS Zune clipped the iPod iceberg.

Update: Speaking of which, here’s alarming news from Microsoft’s Zune Insider:

If you have a Zune that isn’t skipping (which, truth be told, is the majority of owners), move along, nothing to see here, move along. But if the content from ZMP is skipping on your device, I want to tell you that the team is aware, and is working on it.

Update 2/2: Antone Gonsalves at InformationWeek:

In other executive shuffling, Joe Belfiore, VP of Windows Media Center, and Enrique Rodriguez, VP of Microsoft’s TV Division, who both reported to Lee, will now report to Bach.



Filed under Apple, Argo, Coopetition, Executives, J Allard, Microsoft, Robbie Bach, Zune

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