Where in the world is J Allard?

Where in the world is J Allard?

Summary: Since Microsoft acknowledged officially a couple of weeks ago that the powers-that-be there decided to nix the Courier Tablet, the question I've gotten most often is "So what's J Allard's next trick?"

SHARE:

Since Microsoft acknowledged officially a couple of weeks ago that the powers-that-be there decided to nix the Courier Tablet, the question I've gotten most often is "So what's J Allard's next trick?"

According to my sources last fall, Allard was the champion of the Courier dual-screen tablet. Courier made it as far as an incubation before CEO Steve Ballmer & Co. decided not to pursue the project. (At Microsoft, incubations are more likely to turn into products than pure research projects, but they are still not yet on a guaranteed path to commercialization.)

Over the past mont or so, I've been asking around about Allard's whereabouts. One of my sources who has been a pretty reliable tipster in the past told me that Allard is on sabbatical and is unlikely to return to Microsoft. His name is still in the Global Address Book inside Microsoft, I hear, and his bio page is still unaltered on the Microsoft Corporate Web site, where he still is listed as Chief Experience Officer and Chief Technology Officer, Entertainment and Devices Division.

Word inside was Allard was none too happy about the killing off of Courier and has finally made good on his (what sounds like they may have been regular) threats about leaving the company all together. (Another person with whom I communicated claimed CEO Steve Ballmer showed Allard the door because of disagreements regarding the Courier's potential.)

I asked Microsoft for comment and was told: "We're not commenting on ‘rumor or speculation.’ (I asked as a follow-up whether Allard is on sabbatical and was told Microsoft "didn't have more to share.")

On May 18, someone else's bio page did change on the Microsoft Web site, however. Todd Holmdahl, who was previously listed as Corporate Vice President of the Gaming and Xbox Product Group, is now listed as Corporate Vice President, Interactive Entertainment Business, Incubation. Here's what Holmdahl's new job description includes:

"Holmdahl leads the Incubation team for the Interactive Entertainment Business responsible for continually exploring new technologies, new consumer experiences, and new business models. Holmdahl works with various internal and external partners on planning, scoping, and prototyping future interactive entertainment scenarios."

The new bio also lists Holmdahl as "one of the founding fathers of the Xbox brand," as well as one of the main recruiters for "the team currently developing 'Project Natal.'"

This change in bios may just be Microsoft getting its Natal ducks in a row before it showcases the gaming controller at the E3 conference in early June. But could it also be an attempt to position Holmdahl as the new stand-in for Allard?

I've asked a few of my contacts whether they've heard whether Microsoft is attempting to find a new E&D creative champion to fill Allard's shoes. No one seems to know for sure. One insider I know, who acknowledged he had no direct knowledge as to Allard's current whereabouts or plans, came back with this:

"Allard was a key guy on Xbox and organizationally he was set up to drive innovations like Courier. He was one of the few there that really was willing to think outside the box and has people working on top secret projects off the main campus....He was regarded as being a bit (Apple CEO Steve) Jobs like in that he understood the importance of design, not just function. Hence if he departs Microsoft would lose an important design advocate and innovator."

Allard has been out of the limelight for over a year, giving no interviews and appearing at no new launches since the Zune (I believe). The most recent sanctioned mention of him that I could find was on April 14, when Allard joined the board of Portland, Oreg.-based outdoor gear manufacturer The Clymb.

J, are you out there? What are you doing? Inquiring minds would love to know....

Topics: Hardware, Browser, CXO, Microsoft, Mobility, Software Development

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).

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

19 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: Where in the world is J Allard?

    thanks admin from turkey, great job!
    newgirls
    • RE: Where in the world is J Allard?

      Thank you for posting this article. I also plugged the show on Facebook, with mixed results from my friends. All I ask of people, whether they are familiar with homeopathy or not, is to watch my designer but <a href="http://www.weddingdressesshop.co.za/"> cheap wedding dresses</a>. They are very very beautiful.
      lanmeng
      • RE: Where in the world is J Allard?

        The new bio also lists Holmdahl as ???one of the founding fathers of the Xbox brand,??? as well as one of the main<a <div href="http://riotfest.net/"><font color="light&amp;height"> riotfest</font></a> know of knoledge <a <div href="http://www.netzaesthetik.com/"><font color="light&amp;height">netzaesthetik</font></a> good of the <a <div href="http://joysoft.net/"><font color="light&amp;height">joysoft</font></a>laptop keyboard that <a <div href="http://calciofc.net/"><font color="light&amp;height">calciofc</font></a> apple orange <a <div href="http://www.connectechporthuron.org/"><font color="light&amp;height">connectechporthuron</font></a> this is recruiters
        Juliety
      • RE: Where in the world is J Allard?

        Microsoft is attempting to find a new E&D<a <div href="http://riotfest.net/"><font color="light&amp;height"> riotfest</font></a> know of knoledge <a <div href="http://www.netzaesthetik.com/"><font color="light&amp;height">netzaesthetik</font></a> good of the <a <div href="http://joysoft.net/"><font color="light&amp;height">joysoft</font></a>laptop keyboard that <a <div href="http://calciofc.net/"><font color="light&amp;height">calciofc</font></a> apple orange <a <div href="http://www.connectechporthuron.org/"><font color="light&amp;height">connectechporthuron</font></a> this is creative
        Juliety
  • RE: Where in the world is J Allard?

    Thanks for share this post.
    [url=http://mickeymouseclubhousegames.org/]Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Games[/url]

    [url=http://webhostingreview.info]Web Hosting Reviews[/url]
    pagerank1
    • RE: Where in the world is J Allard?

      @pagerank1 <a href="http://www.bolerolabs.com">natural breast enlargement product</a>
      NinjaHattoriGames
    • RE: Where in the world is J Allard?

      @pagerank1 <br><br> Buy micro niche websites
      [url="http://Buymicroniches.com/"]Buy micro niche websites[/url]
      pagerank1
    • RE: Where in the world is J Allard?

      @pagerank1

      [url="http://www.nashwarren.co.uk/motor-trade-insurance.aspx"]Motor Trade Insurance Brokers[/url]
      Ninja Hattori Games
  • RE: Where in the world is J Allard?

    Thanks for the operator in Turkey, a very nice job!

    <a href="www.celebritysilvers.com">pandora bracelets</a>
    ninjahattorigame
    • RE: Where in the world is J Allard?

      @ninjahattorigame
      Stop smoking Smoker make pollution in our beautiful world.We should take step to educate the harm effect of it.especially work in our younger generation.Teacher can play important role to stop smoking.

      <a href="http://www.helpmestopsmoking.org.uk ">stop smoking</a>
      NinjaHattoriGames
    • RE: Where in the world is J Allard?

      @ninjahattorigame <br><br><a href="http://www.websiteservicesreseller.net" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">ways to make extra money</a>

      [url=http://www.walksandwalking.com/walks/walks-in-essex/walks-in-epping/]Epping Forest[/url]
      pagerank1
      • RE: Where in the world is J Allard?

        @pagerank1

        [url=http://www.tarotgratistarot.es]Tarot[/url]
        pagerank1
    • RE: Where in the world is J Allard?

      @ninjahattorigame <br>collection of nice blogs <br><br> collection of nice blogs
      [url=http://blogmeout.net]collection of nice blogs [/url]
      pagerank1
  • RE: Where in the world is J Allard?

    Thank you for posting this article. I also plugged the show on Facebook, with mixed results from my friends. Great read.
    <a href="http://www.worldbestroulettesystem.com/">best roulette system</a>
    arigbyfun
  • Awesome post

    One of the best post I have seen in last month.
    [url=http://www.negeso.nl]website maken[/url]
    pagerank1
  • Mike ninjahattorigame.com

    "Mike thought it was a done deal that Phil Jackson was going to be the Lakers coach again," one league source said. "No one was more surprised that it didn't happen than Mike."
    http://ninjahattorigame.com
    pagerank1
  • hostages were later freed

    Twenty-five foreign hostages escaped and six were killed on Thursday when Algerian forces launched an operation to free them at a remote desert gas plant, Algerian sources said, as one of the biggest international hostage crises in decades unfolded.
    Three other hostages were later freed by the army, a local source told Reuters, as the military operation continued after dark. The reported loss of hostages' lives in the fast-moving events raised a chorus of concern from Western leaders.
    pagerank1
    • French military

      The standoff began when gunmen calling themselves the Battalion of Blood stormed the gas facility on Wednesday morning. They said they were holding 41 foreigners and demanded a halt to a French military operation against fellow al Qaeda-linked Islamist militants in neighboring Mali. http://newfreehiddenobjectgames.com/free-online-hidden-object-games-meeting-number-game/
      pagerank1
  • newfreehiddenobjectgames.com

    newfreehiddenobjectgames.com
    They did just that - more than 124,000 times.
    The story caught the eye of a woman who attended high school with who she believed were Simons' birth parents. She passed on the information to the apparent Simons' birth mother, who then sent her a message.
    Simons was skeptical at first, she said, but after talking to the woman, she knew she had found the one.
    pagerank1