As it continues to struggle in the mobile space, Microsoft is shaking up its managerial structure and will be losing two high-profile executives.
Robbie Bach, president of entertainment and devices division (which includes mobile), will be retiring at the end of the fall. J. Allard, the CTO of that E&D division, will also be leaving.
“For the past 22 years, Robbie has personified creativity, innovation and drive. With this spirit, he has led a division passionately devoted to making Microsoft successful in interactive entertainment and mobility,” Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said in a prepared statement.
This division was responsible for the Windows Mobile team and the XBox division. The gaming part of the business is finally starting to pay dividends after years of losses, as it is finally profitable and could be in for a major boost with this fall’s release of Project Natal, a gaming add-on that uses camera and motion controls for new interaction methods.
The mobile division hasn’t been pulling its weight though, as Windows Mobile has steadily lost market share to rivals like the iPhone, BlackBerry and Android. According to recent figures from analyst firm Gartner, Microsoft’s mobile OS fell to 6.8% of the market in the first quarter from 10.2% for the same period last year. Android went to 9.6% from 1.6% and the iPhone jumped to 15.4% from 10.5% for the same period.
It’s a little unfair to solely rely on those market figures though, as Microsoft has essentially killed incentive to buy Windows Mobile devices now because Windows Phone 7 will be coming out in the fall. We have a hard time recommending fantastic pieces of hardware like the HD2 on T-Mobile because its platform could be a dead end.
The software giant does appear to have a winner with WP7, as it takes a fresh, non-app-centric approach to mobile computing. It should also utilize the cloud-centric elements of the Kin phones to provide a good mobile Internet experience. We’ve been able to go hands-on with the next generation of Windows Phone and you can check out the video below for a closer look.