Former Microsoft Entertainment & Devices President Joins Sonos
- By Gladys Rama
- August 17, 2011
Robbie Bach, a 22-year Microsoft veteran who led the company's Entertainment & Devices (E&D) division, this week joined audio electronics company Sonos as a board member.
Bach held the role of Microsoft E&D president for five years, from the division's formation in 2005 until his retirement last fall. His exit was part of an executive reorganization within the division that also included the departure of J. Allard, E&D's senior vice president of design and development. As president of E&D, Bach was responsible for several consumer-oriented Microsoft products, including the Xbox, Zune, Windows Mobile, Windows Phone 7 and the now-discontinued Kin.
After Bach's exit, Microsoft divided E&D into two distinct business units: the enterprise-oriented Windows Embedded Business and the consumer-oriented Mobile Communications Business (which was renamed "Windows Phone Division" in June). The main E&D reorganization was showcased prominently by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at the time, possibly as a way to signal a jump-start of Microsoft's lagging consumer mobile efforts.
Prior to joining E&D, Bach helmed the marketing efforts for the Microsoft Office suite between 1992 and 1997. He also served as manager of business operations for Microsoft Europe from 1990 to 1992.
At the announcement of his departure, Bach said he was retiring from Microsoft to focus on his personal and nonprofit projects.
"At Microsoft, I've been so fortunate to spend more than two decades of my life working with incredible people and doing amazing things like launching Office, Xbox and Xbox Live, the 'Halo' franchise, Windows Phones, Zune and more," Bach said in a prepared statement.
According to a Wall Street Journal article published Tuesday, Bach was persuaded by Sonos CEO and Founder John MacFarlane to join the Santa Barbara-based company in part because Bach "is a longtime user of Sonos' products."
Sonos' flagship product is a wireless, Web-based sound system that streams music into multiple rooms from one player connected to a router. The WSJ calls the company, which was founded in 2003, an "unusual success story in consumer electronics," and Sonos' Web site states its products are already "available in thousands of retailers around the world." According to the WSJ, "Bach says he expects to help Sonos primarily with advice about marketing and its retail presence, both areas that he played a large role in during his Xbox days."
CORRECTION: The original version of this story incorrectly stated Sonos did not have a presence in brick-and-mortar retailers. The above version has been corrected.