Zune GM Exiting Microsoft For UMG
August 26, 2009 at 4:56 AM (PT)
MICROSOFT's GM in charge of the ZUNE player, CHRIS STEPHENSON, is exiting just three weeks before the release of the new mp3 player, for a position at UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP, reports THE WALL STREET JOURNAL. THE JOURNAL's source told the paper STEPHENSON will become Chief Marketing Officer at UNIVERSAL’s INTERSCOPE/GEFFEN/A&M RECORDS after LABOR DAY, reporting to Chairman JIMMY IOVINE.
Reached by phone while on vacation, STEPHENSON confirmed to THE JOURNAL his departure from MICROSOFT and his new job at INTERSCOPE, saying he’s looking forward to returning to the entertainment industry.
STEPHENSON has held various positions in the entertainment business, including a stint at MTV. He joined MICROSOFT in early 2006 to help the company launch ZUNE as a rival to APPLE’s iPOD. The ZUNE has yet to made a dent in APPLE’s dominant share of the player market, and ZUNE sales have been in decline in recent years.
MICROSOFT is pinning the future of the ZUNE from a new model, the ZUNE HD, that goes on sale SEPTEMBER 15th. The ZUNE HD includes HD RADIO, among other features.