Xbox Executive Leaves for Apple

 

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In a stunning move furthering rumors that Apple’s next big thrust is into educational gaming, Richard Teversham has left Microsoft for Apple.  Teversham, the former head of video game strategy for Microsoft in Europe, joins Apple in an “education-related” role.

The former Microsoft executive was the Senior Director of all business, insights, and strategic development for the Xbox division and played a big role in developing both the Xbox and Xbox Online brands in Europe.  Microsoft confirmed that Teversham left for “a new opportunity outside of Microsoft” and that a replacement has not been identified.

This is not the first defection of a Microsoft executive in recent memory.  Joanne Bradford, who was the Chief Media Officer for the MSN Media Network, quit in 2008 to join the startup advertising firm Spot Runner.  She had previously served as Microsoft’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing and Chief Media Revenue Officer.  During the same year, Rob Short, the Corporate Vice President for Windows Core Technology, left Microsoft.  The longtime Microsoft employee left the team responsible for designing, developing, and testing the core components of the Windows operating system. The bleeding didn’t stop, as business division President Jeff Raikes left Microsoft in September and the company’s merger and acquisitions executive Bruce Jaffe left in February.  Let’s also not forget that Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates left his full-time duties last year.

Apple, on the other hand, has scored one of the top European executives primarily responsible for the Xbox 360’s widespread use in Europe.  With this level of expertise not only with Microsoft’s inner-workings, but also with the European market, Apple has really scored a coup in its efforts to expand its gaming influence.

Although there hasn’t been a single peep regarding an Apple-inspired Xbox, the company from Northern California has always been one to involve itself with educational gaming.  Teversham brings the expertise and experience needed to develop and market gaming to the European demographic, a big blow to Microsoft’s plans in 2010 and beyond.

Teversham had been with Microsoft for 15 years, works out of the U.K., and currently is on the Board of Directors of the Interactive Software Federation of Europe (ISFE).  This organization is in charge of age ratings for videos games that are sold in Europe.  It has not been announced if Teversham will relinquish his role with the ISFE now that he has left for Apple.  Speculation out of the U.K. is that Teversham will work with Apple’s engineers to collaborate with mobile game developers or even heading up an internal gaming team.  DigitalTrends.com assumes that Teversham has signed various non-compete clauses and other contractual obligations that will probably prevent him from working on a specific gaming-related project for Apple.

Although the move is an absolute score for Apple, the risk is great for Teversham, who has to wonder about the backlash of leaving Microsoft for a bitter rival.  If the Apple position doesn’t work out, there’s no doubt that his old pals at Microsoft won’t exactly welcome him home with open arms.  The move has signaled that Apple is not just gaining ground in the consumer marketplace, but also at the “C” level of top executives looking for the best opportunities for their careers.  Is widespread Apple usage in homes with gaming a viable option in the near future?  Probably not, but if Teversham has a say, it’ll be here sooner than you think.

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