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Microsoft and EA: Swapping executives

for hireJust last week Peter Moore, the former president and COO of Sega America and current VP of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment business (responsible for the Xbox),  was sitting down with the press and talking about present problems and plans for  future of the Xbox 360 gaming platform.  Now it appears in September, Mr. Moore will be talking about Electronic Arts and Madden 2008 instead. 

It was announced yesterday that Moore resigned his post at Microsoft to return to the San Francisco Bay area.   He won’t have time to be idle.  He’ll take on new challenges  at Redwood City based Electronic Arts as head of their highly regarded EA Sports division; home to game franchises like Madden Football and Tiger Woods golf.

The EA sports division was created from EA’s former studio organizational structure during an organizational restructuring announced last month. As president of the division, Moore will be responsible for some of EA’s most visible product lines.  In taking the role, he’ll replace Joel Linzer who was acting interim head of the division.  No word officially on what role Joel Linzer will take on inside EA but presumably he’ll return to his Executive Vice President title and assist CEO John Riccitiello.  Moore will start in August or September after handing off his responsibilities at Microsoft through August.

In a twist that brings to mind the cliché about a change of scenery being a good thing for all:  Moore will be replaced at Microsoft by a former executive from EA, Don Mattrick.  Don Mattrick began ae EA in 1991.  He was most recently a studio president before leaving in February 2006.  Since then, he’d been serving as an adviser to Microsoft

With Microsoft focused on building game platforms and EA on building the games themselves, the two companies are more partners than competitors.  The trade of executives could potentially be good for both – bringing in a new perspective and some fresh blood at a time when both companies are dealing with challenges.  (Microsoft is battling for market share and dealing with ongoing manufacturing hurdlesEA has struggled in the financial markets during the last two quarters (Q3 and Q4 notably )and is trying to invigorate sales with partnerships, new titles, greater mass-market appeal and a more streamlined, efficient management hierarchy).

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