Zune boss steps down

Written by Brett Thomas

February 1, 2007 | 20:38

Tags: #j-allard #zune

Companies: #microsoft

Ok, so who here owns a Zune? Not many of us - and apparently, Microsoft doesn't really like that fact. Therefore, a little shake-up has taken place under the Zune project, and its current Business Manager is stepping down. Brian Lee, the original controller of the project, will now hand over his reins to none other than J Allard.

Mr. Allard is practically a household name at this point in time - first of all, he's probably the only Microsoft high-level exec to get the term "hip" applied to him in the media...without anyone breaking into fits of laughter. He catapaulted to executive stardom with his sensational job over the original XBox, and then proved he could do it again with the 360. In fact, about the only thing many people fault him for are the original controllers - a giant could have gripped them comfortably. The rest of us, well...not so much.

Microsoft is positioning this as just a routine "changing of the guard" for a product that has transitioned from paper to store shelves. However, these types of transfers are pretty rare in the corporate world, and usually happen when a product meets a pretty dismal response compared to expectations. J Allard is known for his ability to connect to a younger demographic, which is certainly the right target for the Zune, whose tagline is "Welcome to the Social."

With new hands at the helm, perhaps the Zune isn't as down and out as it first appeared. However, I personally think there will need to be some pretty drastic improvements before we start seeing a product worth leaving our current MP3 solutions at home for. However, based on his track record, J Allard may be just what the doctor ordered for the device's commercial standing. Of course, it would probably help more if it were even released in the EU...

Do you have a thought on the changeover? How about what would make the Zune a worthwhile product for you? Tell us about your thoughts on what Brian missed and J could bring to the table in our forums.
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