Microsoft’s Xbox Product Chief Joins Speaker-System MakerCliff Edwards and Dina Bass
Marc Whitten, who led Microsoft Corp.’s development of the Xbox One video-game console, is leaving the company for Sonos Inc., the maker of multiroom speaker systems.
Whitten, who was chief product officer for Xbox, will have the same title at Sonos, according to a blog post yesterday. He will start in the newly created position at the beginning of April, Eric Nielsen, a spokesman for closely held Sonos, said by telephone.
In a management overhaul in July, Whitten and his software team were moved out of Microsoft’s hardware and game studios unit and began reporting to Terry Myerson, the executive vice president overseeing operating systems for Windows, Windows Phone and the Xbox.
Whitten joined the Xbox team in 2000 and has worked on all three generations of the console including the Xbox One, which was introduced in November a week after Sony Corp.’s PlayStation 4 machine. That console held the lead in U.S. video-game unit sales in February, while the higher-priced Xbox One generated more revenue, according to researcher NPD Group.
Whitten also helped build the Xbox Live online service, which has 48 million members in 41 countries. His departure is the latest change to Microsoft’s executive lineup since Satya Nadella became chief executive officer of the Redmond, Washington-based company in February.
The departure of Whitten also follows the exit of Don Mattrick, the former head of Microsoft’s entertainment division who had led the effort to introduce the Xbox One and departed in July to take the CEO job at Zynga Inc.
At Sonos, Whitten will oversee development at the company as it attempts to expand from its base of wireless music speaker enthusiasts to grab a bigger share of the $10 billion home-audio market.
Sonos equipment lets users stream music from computers, mobile devices and online services such as those from Pandora Media Inc., Spotify Ltd. and Beats Music LLC. The Santa Barbara, California-based company faces new challenges from wireless equipment developed by rivals including bigger consumer electronics makers such as Samsung Electronics Co.