TIME Microsoft

Marc Whitten, Xbox Exec for 14 Years, Is Bidding Microsoft Adieu

Whitten, head of Xbox Live, demonstrates new XBox feature XBox SmartGlass, at Microsoft XBox news briefing during E3 game expo in Los Angeles
Marc Whitten, the head of Xbox Live, demonstrates the new Xbox feature, Xbox SmartGlass, a wireless tablet controller at the Microsoft Xbox news briefing during the E3 game expo in Los Angeles, California June 4, 2012. Fred Prouser / Reuters

Whitten's leaving Microsoft for a similar position with Sonos.

In a late Monday afternoon note, the Xbox Wire blog dropped a surprise: Marc Whitten, Chief Product Officer of Xbox, is leaving the company for the same position (CPO) with wireless audio maven Sonos.

Whitten had been with Microsoft for nearly a decade-and-a-half, joining the company in 2000 and helping usher in the Xbox platform as well as both of its successors, the Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Xbox Wire calls the news “sad to share” before rolling out the plaudits for Xbox’s ex-CPO.

Here’s Whitten:

I have had the extreme pleasure over the last 14 years to work on the greatest product with the greatest team and for the greatest community. Xbox is so special because of the amazing team I’ve had the opportunity to work with and because our fans are the most incredible fans on the planet. It has been the highlight of my career to work on a product so loved. It’s incredibly tough to leave but I am confident the best days are ahead for Xbox fans, in the capable hands of a very talented team.

Xbox Wire says the Xbox leadership team will remain as-is, temporarily reporting to Terry Myserson, an executive VP responsible for “the teams building the software platform and experiences for Windows, Windows Phone and Xbox.” Myerson says he’ll work with VP of marketing and strategy Yusuf Mehdi and Microsoft Studios head Phil Spencer to find a replacement for Whitten.

Whitten isn’t abandoning ship entirely: according to Xbox Wire, “You can continue to play with Marc on Xbox Live under the gamertag notwen.”

And here’s Whitten a little over an hour ago on Twitter, wishing everyone well.

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