Microsoft's J Allard Rumored To Be Leaving The Company

When you hear "Microsoft," you probably think of a few things: Windows, for one. Bill Gates is another. Maybe even Steve Ballmer, the company's current CEO. But unless you're a loyal follower of the company, you may not be familiar with J Allard. But you should be. This guy has had a hand in many, many Microsoft projects, and a lot of those have hit the retail world. In other words, he has more impact in how your Microsoft product looks and acts than most people realize. His official title, even now, is "Chief Experience Officer and Chief Technology Officer, Entertainment and Devices Division." That's a long and fancy way of saying that he's way up the totem pole when it comes to molding Microsoft's "fun products."

A few months back, you may remember that the so-called "Courier" project was killed. Microsoft never openly said that the Courier was real, and they never admitted that it would be coming to retail. But according to new reports from deep within Redmond, there were some heated discussions between J Allard and CEO Steve Ballmer about the Courier, and the former really wanted to make it happen. Needless to say, having your baby project killed off isn't any fun, and now Allard has seemingly vanished for the past little while.

ZDNet states that he's currently on sabbatical, but the kicker is that he's "unlikely to return to Microsoft." Allard has made huge impacts on Xbox, Zune, and loads of other Microsoft products, and if he steps away, they'll need a serious replacement on the double. It should be interesting to see how all this plays out; it's kind of odd to think about how much of an impact one guy can have on such a massive company, but Allard's fingerprints are all over tons of the entertainment you see and enjoy every day--at least if your household is stuffed with Microsoft products.