J Allard has been in limbo -- at least title-wise -- for the past few months.
After Rick Thompson became Corporate Vice President of Zune last fall, more than a few Microsoft watchers were wondering what Allard would do for an encore. Would he become yet another Softie who would take a "sabbatical," never to return to Microsoft? (It wouldn't make a whole lot of sense to say Allard was "retiring to spend more time with his family," since his wife, Rebecca Norlander, is Chief Software Architet Ray Ozzie's Technical Assistant....)
It looks like Allard has a new mission and new title to prove it. As of June 24, according to the Microsoft executive bio site, Allard is now "Chief Experience Officer" at Microsoft, as well as as yet another in a line of Microsoft's Chief Technology Officers. (Microsoft Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie, Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie and Senior Vice President David Vaskevitch all have held CTO titles in the past few years.)
From Allard's updated bio:
"As Chief Experience Officer (CXO) and Chief Technology Officer (CTO), J Allard is responsible for the technical architecture and user experiences related to products and services of the Entertainment and Devices (E&D) division. Allard works closely with technical leaders across the company to align E&D product teams with Microsoft's overall services strategy and product architecture, and drives the technical and design agenda to deliver Connected Entertainment experiences for consumers."
There have been a lot of shake-ups in the Entertainment and Devices division in the past couple of weeks, mostly on the Entertainment side. Under Senior Vice President of Interactive Entertainment Don Mattrick's organization Shane Kim was replaced as head of Microsoft Game Studios by Phil Spencer; and Michael Delman ended up replacing Jeff Bell, the head of marketing.
Perhaps Allard is going to be overseeing -- or at least participating in a major way -- in the mysterious Microsoft "eLive" initative. What do you think he'll be doing?