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Whitten Leaves Microsoft For Sonos

Santa Barbara, Calif. — Marc Whitten, Microsoft’s Xbox chief product officer and corporate VP, is leaving the company after 14 years to become chief product officer at Sonos, the companies said Monday.

Whitten joined Microsoft in 1997 and worked on the Windows 2000 team. He moved to the Xbox team in 2000, rising through the ranks to Xbox Live corporate VP in 2010.

Word of the move broke on the opening day of the Game Developers Conference, where Microsoft was to reveal plans for its DirectX 12 interface.

It also comes as Microsoft is facing criticism from analysts and investors who are calling for Microsoft to sell off the Xbox unit.

In a major reorganization last July, responsibilities for the Xbox operating system and Xbox Live service were shifted to the new unified Windows division under Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s executive VP.

The console and Xbox Studios division were handled by Microsoft’s Devices & Studios unit led by Julie Larson-Green. That unit is to be taken over by Stephen Elop, the former Nokia CEO who will rejoin Microsoft once Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s handset business is official, according to a ZDNet report.

At Sonos, Whitten will direct his efforts to the company’s multiroom music systems and connected sound devices.