J Allard's departure had been preceded by days of rumors, but Bach's retirement came as more of a surprise to outside observers. J Allard will remain onboard as a consultant to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Microsoft named two other executives to manage the division's assets, although the unit's ultimate structure remains unclear.
Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices (E&D) Division, responsible for consumer products such as the Xbox and Zune media player, underwent a massive shake-up, with Robbie Bach, the unit's president, and J Allard, its senior vice president of Design and Development, both stepping down from their current positions. Although rumors of Allard's leaving preceded the official announcement, the Bach departure - characterized by Microsoft as a retirement due to start this fall - came as a surprise to many.
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