Report: Phil Harrison Exits Microsoft


According to GamesIndustry, Phil Harrison has once again stepped away from his position at a major gaming company. Multiple sources at GDC have aided the report that insists the VP of Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft will be leaving.

When Xbox head Phil Spencer was reached for comment about the report concerning Phil Harrison, he replied, “I don’t think I can say anything about that.” Furthermore, the director of ID@Xbox, Chris Charla, refused to comment on the matter. In addition, a Microsoft spokesperson reiterated that the company will not comment on rumor or speculation. However, according to GamesIndustry, Phil Harrison leaving the company came as a result of an ultimatum if he was not offered a new position at the company.

While not directly overseeing day-to-day operations in his role, the departure of Phil Harrison is just one of several high-profile cases of executives who work with Xbox leaving since the device’s initial announcement. Current Zynga CEO Don Mattrick was the President of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft starting in October of 2010, even going so far as to introduce the Xbox One on May 21st, 2013. He left Microsoft less than two months later.

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Just months after the Xbox One launched Chief Product Officer of Xbox, Marc Whitten, left the company last March. He had been with the Xbox division since 2000, and helped to bring all existing Xbox consoles to market. Julie Larson-Green, who had been with Microsoft since 1993, took over the newly-formed Devices and Studios Engineering Group in July of 2013, overseeing development of hardware such as the Xbox One and Xbox 360. While not directly leaving the company, she lasted only 7 months at that position.

Update: Nancy Tellem, who was hired as the president of Xbox Entertainment Studios in September 2012, also left Microsoft in October last year. The move was a result of the studio itself shutting down, as part of a refocus on retooling the Xbox One’s multimedia design aspects. Just as 2014 ended, we also learned that key Microsoft engineer, Boyd Multerer, had also left Microsoft. He was instrumental in developing Xbox Live, Xbox 360 and the Xbox One.

As a final note of importance, the former boss of Phil Harrison, Steve Ballmer, stepped down in 2013 as the CEO of Microsoft. He was instrumental in creating the Xbox brand itself, among his many accomplishments with the Windows brand. He is now the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, and is having a great time doing so.

If this report is true, I’d like to wish Phil Harrison good luck on his future endeavors. Here’s hoping that Phil Spencer stays as Xbox head for a long time. Microsoft could use his guidance as a leader of the Xbox brand, especially as the number of internal options that could replace him draws slimmer.

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