Peter Moore, the Corporate Vice President of Microosft's Interactive Entertainment Business -- and the point guy on Xbox and Games for Windows -- is leaving Microsoft to become President of Electronic Arts' Sports label.
Microsoft made the announcement of Moore's pending departure (he starts at EA in September) on July 17, twelve days after after taking a $1 billion-plus charge for faulty Xbox hardware in the quarter which ended June 30. (Moore's replacement is Don Mattrick, a former president at Electronic Arts.)
Microsoft's official word is Moore resigned. Skeptics are wondering whether he is the scapegoat for the Xbox hardware meltdown. Just days before admitting the "Three Rings of Death" was a real problem affecting more than a handful of vociferous users, Moore was the stand-up guy taking the lumps for Microsoft.
Either way, the timing isn't ideal for Microsoft. The company's Q4 2007 earnings announcement is July 19. This week, the company is convening its annual rah-rah gathering of its salesforce, known as MGX, in Orlando.
Before you assume Moore was pushed, however, look at what Moore is getting for joining EA. From Moore's offer letter from EA (a copy of EA was required to file by the Securities and Exchange Commission):
- A base salary of $550,000 per year
- A target bonus of 75 percent of his annual base salary
- A one-time bonus of $1.5 million (minus taxes) "in recognition of the future compensation value he would be foregoing by leaving his position at Microsoft." He earns this bonus at the completion of his second year at Microsoft but gets it within 30 days of starting at EA.
- A stock option to purchase 350,000 shares of the company's common stock and 50,000 shares of restricted stock
- Relocation expenses of about $330,000
Feel free to write in with other possible theories, too.