An Intimate Look at Microsoft's J Allard

By Alec Matias, May 13, 2005 3:18pm PDT

Wired did a three-page piece on the main man behind the Xbox and its successor, J Allard. A Microsoft veteran, he prodded Gates and Ballmer to take on Sony and Nintendo with a fiery memo.

So when Allard cooked up another unlikely proposal in 1999, his bosses paid attention. Ballmer remembers thinking that Allard's proposal was over-the-top. "Bill called me up and said, 'Let's get this thing fired up.' I said, 'Um, this is pretty different, pretty bold.' Actually, 'wacky' was probably more like it," Ballmer remembers. "I didn't say, 'Stop,' but I pushed back pretty hard. There's no way to muscle in on guys like Sony and Nintendo using just sheer resources." ... In January, Allard and the rest of the Xbox senior executives gathered to write brief statements on what motivates them to come to work every morning. The mission: to inspire the group's rank and file. "Most people put down flowery, make-the-world-a-better-place, Miss America types of things," Allard says. "I wrote: What gets me out of bed and into the office every day is the thought of Ken Kutaragi's resignation letter, framed, hanging next to my desk."
The article does an excellent job showing the emotion and personal investment Allard has for the Xbox's success. He's even mapped out the next twenty years for the platform in a 147-page memo called "Book of Xenon."

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