updated 09:15 pm EST, Thu January 27, 2011
J Allard may resume work with Skype
J Allard may end his half-year sabbatical from work through Skype if a rumor Thursday night proved true. The former Xbox team pioneer has reportedly been seen talking to Skype CEO Tony Bates at the latter's headquarters in Palo Alto. SAI understood he would be taken on as a chief of engineering, the first since the previous chief Madhu Yarlagadda left suddenly in August.
Allard is superficially an unusual choice both for his game console experience and also for his having worked on the ill-fated Courier. Having been a key inspiration for Xbox Live, though, he would have been responsible for the service's live, multiplayer voice chat and likely had to manage issues such as reducing lag and juggling many different voice streams, all of which are core Skype issues.
The need for an engineering chief may have been stepped up by the recent worldwide Skype outage. It knocked out most services for a large portion of users after a bug from an older version of Skype began taking down nodes needed for the peer-to-peer voice calling to work. Allard could potentially keep closer watch either on prevention or on managing crises before they become too large.