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J. Allard in costume after losing a bet in which he said that the Sony PSP wouldn't pass 10 million units sold  (Source: Zune Online)

Robbie Bach
J. Allard leaving Microsoft after 19 years on the job

We reported earlier today that some shakeups were on the way from Microsoft with regards to its Entertainment & Devices Division. It had already been widely speculated that J. Allard, chief experience officer and chief technology officer, was leaving. It was also reported that Robbie Bach could also be shown the door.

TechFlash now reports that both Allard and Bach are leaving Microsoft. According to TechFlash's Todd Bishop, the departure of Allard and Bach will give CEO Steve Ballmer more direct control over Microsoft's struggling sectors (namely its Zune and Windows Mobile units).

Although there has been speculation that Allard might jump ship to Google and work on that company's tablet efforts, he refuted those claims and said that he wants to unwind for a bit and tackle “personal interests” after working at Microsoft for 19 years.

For his part, Ballmer stated the following in a company email announcing the departures:

Transitions are always hard. Robbie has been an instrumental part of so many key moments in Microsoft history — from the evolution of Office to the decision to create the first Xbox to pushing the company hard in entertainment overall. J as well has had a great impact in the market and on our culture, providing leadership in design, and in creating a passionate and involved Xbox community, and earlier being at the center of our work seizing the importance of the Web for the company...

Both have been great team builders with a strong record of attracting, coaching and growing talent. As a result, their teams are primed to continue to step up and deliver great products, great services and great results for the company.

You can read Ballmer's full email to the troops here.



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RE: zune BLAH
By QueBert on 5/26/2010 4:52:04 AM , Rating: 1
No, it's not better in almost every regard. The only point which can be argued is the UI's better, but that's simply a matter of personal preference. My iPod has 500 available accessories for every one for a Zune, and honestly saying 500:1 I might be giving MS too much credit. iTunes is better, for the smart playlists alone. I know Zune supports some sort of auto smart playlists. But what Apple had done with them is simply amazing. I don't use iTunes to listen to music, and the UI is easy enough for me to do anything. Another point for the iPod. Back to support, my car stereo can control my iPod, many car stereos can. I can't think of a single car stereo that can control a Zune. My GF has a Zune in her car and she has to control the music directly from the Zune. That's epic fail.

Lesse, I can't think of anything her Zune does better. Wireless Sync is a boring feature, and it's on the Touch now so that's a moot point. Zune Pass is cool I will give MS that. But the iPod is better on every level that matters. And personally I like my Touch's UI better. The Zune HD is a lot better than the old 30's, but it's still not as good. The 30's were fucking horrible to use. iPod also gets more points in its favor because I can use a dozen different programs to sync. Zune has one, and the software is a POS which took all the mp3's I spent months organizing and properly tagging. And without asking me changed cover art & ID3 tags on about 70% of my music. Very randomly, I'm still trying to fix everything MS's software fucked up.

With all that said, the Zune isn't a bad player, but it's not superior in any important way.


RE: zune BLAH
By Smilin on 5/26/2010 4:08:47 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
No, it's not better in almost every regard. The only point which can be argued is the UI's better, but that's simply a matter of personal preference. My iPod has 500 available accessories for every one for a Zune, and honestly saying 500:1 I might be giving MS too much credit.

I think you're giving MS too much credit. 1000:1 might be a better ratio. Really though other than in car audio I just don't find myself missing any of them. How many iPod alarm clock docs do you really need?

quote:
iTunes is better, for the smart playlists alone. I know Zune supports some sort of auto smart playlists. But what Apple had done with them is simply amazing.


The "genius" playlists are ok but I dig the Zune experience much more. First of all you can only play music you own on iTunes. With Zune you can have it build a mix based on some "seed" (favorite song, artist, genre, etc) and it will build a playlist from your music based on your playcounts and favorites, based on related artists, based on other users with similar playcounts and a bunch of other factors. It will then also add music that is not even in your collection and play it. iTunes is incapable of doing this because it lacks a zunepass. Zune wins on this one.

quote:
Lesse, I can't think of anything her Zune does better. Wireless Sync is a boring feature, and it's on the Touch now so that's a moot point

not exactly a moot point. You have to own a touch to get this. *Every* zune has this...even the original 30s.

quote:
And personally I like my Touch's UI better. The Zune HD is a lot better than the old 30's, but it's still not as good. The 30's were fucking horrible to use. iPod also gets more points in its favor because I can use a dozen different programs to sync. Zune has one, and the software is a POS which took all the mp3's I spent months organizing and properly tagging. And without asking me changed cover art & ID3 tags on about 70% of my music. Very randomly, I'm still trying to fix everything MS's software fucked up.


The 30s can't hang with the iPod or ZuneHD, true. I'm not sure WTF happened with your stuff but I bet it's related to those "dozen different programs to sync". I've never had any problems with tagging. On the contrary I've had it find album art that I couldn't get elsewhere.

The gripes you have kinda sound like your last experience with the Zune was back in the days of the 30. The latest software is f'n awesome.


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