Well, Geoff was right – Julie Larson-Green is the new head of Xbox One. In fact, she is in charge of games, music, video and presumably TV! Because, you know, that’s what the Xbox One is all about.
According to the email from Steve Ballmer about the restructuring,
Devices and Studios Engineering Group. Julie Larson-Green will lead this group and will have all hardware development and supply chain from the smallest to the largest devices we build. Julie will also take responsibility for our studios experiences including all games, music, video and other entertainment.
Larson-Green has a background in development – she is a programmer and led the team responsible for Windows 7. In fact, she got the Windows 7 job due to her success working on Microsoft Office; she is the one responsible for the shift to the “ribbon” design. As she explained:
“A lot of what I’ve learned has come from empathy, an ability to forget what I know and think instead like a customer, seeing a product for the first time.”
I’m pretty sure there will be those who love and those who hate her because of her changes to Office and Windows (people fear change). At least Microsoft thought she was a big success, which is why they’ve made her in charge of devices and studios, and I like that whole empathy and thinking like a customer thing.
As part of the restructuring, Ballmer acknowledged that more changes may result from the shifting of people:
We have resolved many details of this org, but we still will have more work to do. Undoubtedly, as we involve more people there will be new issues and changes to our current thinking as well. Completing this process will take through the end of the calendar year as we figure things out and as we keep existing teams focused on current deliverables like Windows 8.1, Xbox One, Windows Phone, etc.
I would speculate that Larson-Green will bring someone on to be the face of Xbox One. Maybe I’m putting a lot of faith in this lady, but I think that she’s smart enough to realize that the Xbox One needs to change it’s approach to users. If she was “revolutionary” enough to change the UI for Office and Windows 7, she should be able to see that Xbox One needs some serious gamer love.
My prediction: Larson-Green will think like a customer and realize that the Xbox One might be a great product, but it hasn’t been paraded around like a cheap hooker just yet. Gamers want to see everything they’re gonna get before they buy – it’s time for Microsoft to show off all their bits, especially the vibrating triggers that Darryn and Geoff keep raving about. She’s gonna find a way to highlight the Xbox One and remind everyone how all the things they didn’t like are now gone – as is Don Mattrick. Maybe she’ll stay on as the face of Xbox One, but I think it’s more likely that she’ll get someone with some street cred to win over the gamers. Although, to be honest, considering the ridiculous pre-sale numbers, it doesn’t seem like the Xbox One is particularly struggling at the moment.
Last Updated: July 12, 2013