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Xbox boss Marc Whitten leaves Microsoft for Sonos as PS4 leads console sales

14 year veteran departs in the shadow of Xbox One and Titanfall
Tue Mar 18 2014, 14:51

GAMES CONSOLE MAKER Microsoft has either lost or shed the head of its Xbox division and said goodbye to 14-year veteran and Xbox One chief product officer Marc Whitten.

Whitten has promoted Microsoft's games consoles and the way they swagger for as long as we can remember. According to Microsoft he is leaving the firm today and has taken a position at Sonos.

"Following the launch of Xbox One, the most successful launch in Xbox history, and the recent launch of 'Titanfall', the most anticipated game of this generation, the Xbox team is sad to share today that Marc Whitten, chief product officer of Xbox, will be leaving the team to become Chief Product Officer of Sonos," said Microsoft.

Whitten will go from a longstanding involvement in video gaming to a position at the wireless music system outfit Sonos. We might suggest that Sonos could soon, like Amazon, Google, and apparently world plus dog, be making a games console.

Sonos, confirmed that Whitten will become its chief product officer, but told us that video games will not be on his agenda.

"We remain focused on delivering the best possible music experience in the home and have no plans to enter the gaming market," said a Sonos spokesperson.

While the Xbox One is much more of a multimedia setup than the Xbox 360, Sonos is a real multimedia firm. Whitten is glad to be making the move, but it does sound like he will miss his games console.

"I have had the extreme pleasure over the last 14 years to work on the greatest product with the greatest team and for the greatest community," said Whitten.

"Xbox is so special because of the amazing team I've had the opportunity to work with and because our fans are the most incredible fans on the planet. It has been the highlight of my career to work on a product so loved. It's incredibly tough to leave but I am confident the best days are ahead for Xbox fans, in the capable hands of a very talented team."

We've asked Sonos what it plans to do with him. In the meantime his Redmond colleagues will be casting a sad eye over his now empty seat.

"Marc played a pivotal role in building the Xbox business over the last 14 years and has been a great partner for me personally," said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate VP of strategy and marketing.

"Marc has built a very strong and passionate team that has delivered innovative technology for game and entertainment fans. Our fans will continue to inspire us to do great work on their behalf."

Whitten has not left under a cloud, we think, as the Xbox One, and games like Titanfall have been met with applause. The Xbox One sales might lagging those of its Sony PS4 rival, but the Xbox 360 is still selling like hotcakes.

The rest of the Xbox team remains in place and will be led by Terry Myerson, Microsoft VP of software for Windows, Windows Phone and Xbox.

Any Easter parties at the Redmond firm will have a few new faces, and some missing ones. Earlier this month it announced that former Skype boss and EVP of business development Tony Bates and EVP of marketing Tami Reller will leave the company.

At the same time it announced that Mark Penn, the company's EVP of advertising and strategy and former aide to the Clinton family, will become the firm's chief strategy officer.

Chief bunny at any Easter party in Redmond will be Satya Nadella, who assumed the position of Microsoft CEO on 4 February. µ


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