According to a Reuters report, Microsoft is to split its Entertainment and Devices Division into four separate businesses. An internal e-mail from Robbie Bach detailing the changes was apparently sent to employees on Wednesday; a fact seemingly confirmed by several weblogs, including one from Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporter Todd Bishop.
The news follows the company’s previously announced intention to streamline its various businesses to focus directly on specific areas and rival products, such as Google and Linux.
Chief Xbox officer Robbie Bach wrote in the e-mail: “While I will continue to play an important role in the games area, I will spend more time thinking about our broader challenges and opportunities across the division”.
Bryan Lee, current CFO for the Xbox unit, was named as the head of the new Entertainment Business group that will include expansion in music, television and video. J Allard will now head a group overseeing the "design and user experience" for all of Microsoft’s gaming and entertainment products, including Xbox Live, according to Bishop.
Finally, Peter Moore will become the new head of the Interactive Entertainment Business, with direct control of both the Xbox and Games for Windows units – essentially chief Xbox officer, although apparently this title will no longer be used.
Once confirmed by Microsoft themselves, the changes will essentially give a larger company-wide influence for executives involved with the Xbox, presumably to counter rival next generation formats being released next year. It will also help with the integration of the Xbox brand and technologies with other areas of Microsoft’s business – such as the compatibility between Xbox Live and MSN that has already been hinted at by the company.