updated 06:45 pm EST, Wed January 18, 2012
Microsoft's Cutler shifts to Xbox team
Exploration has confirmed that at least two key Microsoft staffers have jumped from the Azure cloud service to the Xbox team. Dave Cutler, best known as the chief architect behind Windows NT, has left for the gamign division, ZDNet heard after talking to Microsoft. While his exact project wasn't known, he would be helping shift the Xbox to a digital media hub, a transition that had already started with the fall 2011 Dashboard update.
"Dave is one of our brightest minds and is currently working on projects that will help advance our goals in the consumer space as we continue to grow the Xbox from a game-centric console to a complete home entertainment device," a representative said.
Simultaneously, Azure hypervisor (virtual machine manager) director Hoi Vo has also moved to the Interactive Entertainment Business group that oversees the Xbox. He's reportedly working on ISS Console Development research, according to a tip, and would be contributing to "connected entertainment experiences" as a result.
The job swaps point to Microsoft wanting to lean more on cloud services for current and future versions of the Xbox. Having at first focused it almost exclusively on gaming, the console's additions of features like Netflix, Microsoft's own music and video stores, and now a full app platform have made it a primary and at times exclusive media hub where physical discs are almost non-existent. Cloud access is expected to be even more important in future models as Microsoft has to decide whether or not it wants Blu-ray or any optical drive at all.