What are a nice bunch of Microsoft Web services guys doing in Xbox land?

What are a nice bunch of Microsoft Web services guys doing in Xbox land?

Summary: As word swirls of an imminent Microsoft management shake-up around the Server and Tools Business, I've been wondering about what's happening on the Interactive Entertainment Business (IEB) side of the Microsoft house.

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As word swirls of an imminent Microsoft management shake-up around the Server and Tools Business, I've been wondering about what's happening on the Interactive Entertainment Business (IEB) side of the Microsoft house.

I've noticed in a couple of postings over on the anonymously-penned Mini Microsoft blog mentions of an IEB reorg. In a late January posting, Mini himself (a k a "Who 'Da Punk") said the most recent "massive" IEB reorg was completed. When I've asked Microsoft officials about changes in the IEB structure, I've gotten the silent treatment.

But I did notice a couple of interesting recent changes in IEB, the part of Microsoft that currently encompasses the Xbox/gaming; IPTV; Media Center; Zune; and mobile communications businesses.

In May 2010, David Treadwell -- the former Corporate Vice President of the Live Platform Services group in the Windows and Windows Live Division -- moved to IEB to do some vaguely specified services stuff. On January 24, 2011, Microsoft updated Treadwell's bio page with an updated job description. According to the refreshed page:

"David Treadwell is a corporate vice president at Microsoft, where he leads the Interactive Entertainment Business's Software and Services (ISS) engineering teams. This includes the development, test and operations disciplines for ISS. Treadwell works closely with technical leaders across the company to align Interactive Entertainment Business product teams with Microsoft's overall services strategy and product architecture, and drives the technical and design agenda to deliver connected entertainment platforms and experiences for consumers."

Who else is part of ISS?

Distinguished Engineer Don Box, known for his work on SOAP, Web services and the M declarative language, for one. After asking around, I learned that Box has officially moved over to work on ISS dev platform R&D. He is doing software/services work for Xbox Program Manager Omri Gazzit, I hear. His new role somehow involves bringing Visual Studio and SQL Server Modeling Services to programmers.

(Another former CSD/Indigo (Windows Communication Foundation) veteran, Joe Long, also is on the IEB side of the house, according to a couple of posters on Mini Microsoft, and has been for some time. Long was formerly General Manager in the Identity and Security division at Microsoft, last I heard.)

Why are these former Connected Systems Division folks going to Xbox land? What do Microsoft technologies like Astoria, the Entity Data Model (EDM), Entity Framework (EF) and M have to do with gaming and TV? Anyone have any theories or knowledge to share?

Topics: Enterprise Software, Browser, Hardware, Microsoft, Mobility, Networking, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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13 comments
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  • RE: What are a nice bunch of Microsoft Web services guys doing in Xbox land?

    Yeah, I have a big theory. Treadwell was head of the Live Mesh incubation project which eventually saw the light of day as Windows Live Sync, later renamed to Windows Live Mesh.
    What *didn't* see the light of day was the real nuts and bolts of Live Mesh - the underlying sync platform oft called "Live Framework". My guess is Treadwell is moving IEB onto something akin to the Live Framework - "all your media, everywhere, all the time" kinda thing.

    Like I say, its a theory.

    No idea what Don Box is doing there. Last I heard he waws working on Juneau (http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/ssdt/threads?filter=alltypes).
    jamiet
    • RE: What are a nice bunch of Microsoft Web services guys doing in Xbox land?

      @jamiet<br><br>Smart! You are probably right.
      Srvart
    • RE: What are a nice bunch of Microsoft Web services guys doing in Xbox land?

      @jamiet

      Any thoughts on how that would fit in with the Media Center and WHS offerings?
      raul.vejar@...
      • RE: What are a nice bunch of Microsoft Web services guys doing in Xbox land?

        @raul.vejar@...
        Absolutely no idea whatsoever :)

        Honestly, this is little more than a sightly educated guess.
        jamiet
  • Ouch ! XBox live play !

    Is it similar to OnLive gaming from MS. XBox may come with a platform for game studios to publish games to be avl as a service like OnLive/aka Netflix for games.

    Also, it might be 4 Live TV subscription over XBox/WP8...!
    jinishans
  • Xbox AppStore?

    Even though there is the indie game marketplace it always seemed funny to me there is no app marketplace for the xbox but I guess it makes sense since XNA is more like a sandbox that lacks access to the rest of the web were the services the app uses might reside...
    I would love if these guys where moving to the XBOX land to work on providing an Azure-like environment for xbox app development.
    raul.vejar@...
  • RE: What are a nice bunch of Microsoft Web services guys doing in Xbox land?

    If cloud folk are coming to E&D that only means that we'll finally get the Meshification promised to us in '08.
    angarita calvo
  • RE: What are a nice bunch of Microsoft Web services guys doing in Xbox land?

    It would be nice if they just opened up the real time online gaming stack to 360 Indy games and WP7.
    Doobi
  • Another Theory

    Don Box is an expert in taking complex specifications and technologies such as the WS-* and making it accessible to the developers. Or in Don Boxs own words, making it accessible to the Blue-collar programmer. My guess is that MS wants to make XBOX developer friendly and broaden its appeal. WCF is an elegant and successful API. M was a disaster.
    ng100
    • RE: What are a nice bunch of Microsoft Web services guys doing in Xbox land?

      @ng100 M lives on in SQL Azure Data Explorer: https://dataexplorer.sqlazurelabs.com/
      jamiet
  • What if .....

    Xbox is "Social", much like facebook, but structured for gamers. Creating a web service model around "Live", could allow the creation of a web presence for the gamer lifestyle. More than a gamer card on a web page, it could be more.
    SneakerZ
  • RE: What are a nice bunch of Microsoft Web services guys doing in Xbox land?

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  • RE: What are a nice bunch of Microsoft Web services guys doing in Xbox land?

    Mary-Jo,
    A tip for you. I listened to the latest edition of the Dot Net Rocks podcast (http://www.dotnetrocks.com/default.aspx?showNum=734) recently where they interviewed Chris Sells who used to work at Microsoft and is apparently friends with Don Box. He said on the show that Don Box headed the team that recently built the XBox Companion app for Windows Phone.
    Interesting? Slightly, maybe.

    JT
    jamiet