Julie Larson-Green appointed head of Xbox Hardware

By Stephany Nunneley
11 July 2013 15:02 GMT

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has reorganized the company, and has appointed Windows chief Julie Larson-Green as head of Xbox Hardware, formerly headed up by Don Mattrick.

Get to know Larson-Green

Has a degree in business administration and a master’s in computer science; a self-taught programmer.

Worked tech support and as a development lead for Aldus, creator of PageMaker Desktop Publishing Software which was purchased by Adobe Systems.

Joined Microsoft in 1993 as a program manager for Visual C++ before switching to the Office team in 1997.

Led the UI design for Office XP, Office 2003, and Office 2007.

Promoted to Corporate Vice President, Program Management, Windows Client.

Most recently led the product planning, design and delivery of Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.

Larson-Green will lead the Devices and Studios Engineering Group, which puts her in charge of “all hardware development and supply chain from the smallest to the largest devices.”

She will also take responsibility for studio experiences including all games, music, video and other entertainment.

As reported earlier this week, Ballmer has reorganized other staff positions, putting Skype head Tony Bates in charge of developer relations and Terry Myerson, formerly head of Windows Phone, in charge of the Operating System unit, which includes Xbox One functions.

“One Strategy, One Microsoft”

Ballmer said this switch-up is part of the firm’s new mantra: “One Strategy, One Microsoft”.

“We are rallying behind a single strategy as one company — not a collection of divisional strategies,” he wrote in a company letter. “Although we will deliver multiple devices and services to execute and monetize the strategy, the single core strategy will drive us to set shared goals for everything we do. We will see our product line holistically, not as a set of islands. We will allocate resources and build devices and services that provide compelling, integrated experiences across the many screens in our lives, with maximum return to shareholders.

“All parts of the company will share and contribute to the success of core offerings, like Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox, Surface, Office 365 and our EA offer, Bing, Skype, Dynamics, Azure and our servers. All parts of the company will contribute to activating high-value experiences for our customers.”

Ballmer also stated in the letter that the firm will “reshape” how it interacts with customers, developers and key innovation partners, by “delivering a more coherent message and family of product offerings.”

“We will plan across the company, so we can better deliver compelling integrated devices and services for the high-value experiences and core technologies around which we organize,” he continued. “This new planning approach will look at both the short-term deliverables and long-term initiatives needed to meet the shipment cadences of both Microsoft and third-party devices and our services.

“Xbox and Bing will be key future contributors to financial success. As devices become further integrated into everyday life, we will have to create new, extraordinary experiences for our customers.”

“This means we will organize the company by function, [and] here will be four engineering areas: OS, Apps, Cloud, and Devices. We will consolidate our technologies coherently into these groups pulling together some things that have been spread out in our current BG structure like cloud infrastructure, operating systems, mail, and identity, to name a few.

“Undoubtedly, as we involve more people there will be new issues and changes to our current thinking as well. Completing this process will take through the end of the calendar year as we figure things out and as we keep existing teams focused on current deliverables like Windows 8.1, Xbox One, Windows Phone, etc.

“Xbox and Bing will also be key future contributors to financial success. As devices become further integrated into everyday life, we will have to create new and extraordinary experiences for our customers on these devices. We are going to focus on completely reinventing experiences… We are going to immerse people in deep entertainment experiences that let them have serious fun in ways so intense and delightful that they will blur the line between reality and fantasy. And as we develop these new experiences, we will also support our developers with the simplest ways to develop apps or cloud services and integrate with our products.

“We will make these high-value activities priorities in our strategy.”

It was rumored last week after Don Mattrick announced his departure for Zynga, that Larson-Green would be taking over his position.

It was also rumored Mattrick left Microsoft due to a planned reorganization of the firm, which turned out to be the case after all. Mattrick was said to have left due to being shifted over into a newly created hardware division.

Since Larson-Green’s new position was announced, stock in Microsoft is up 1.38% to $35.17 since closing last night at $34.70. Granted that is not much of jump, but still a jump nonetheless.

Xbox One is out this holiday season.

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