Noah J Nelson on Thursday, Jul. 11th
It is often noted that there are not enough women working in tech, let alone in the video game industry. Which is one reason why the restructuring of Microsoft announced today is so noteworthy.
Julie Larson-Green, formerly the head of the Windows division, will be taking on a new role at the company: head of the "Devices and Studios Engineering Group". This means that the both the hardware makers and the game studios working for Microsoft will report to her.
Gamasutra sums up Larson-Green's history quite nicely:
A self-taught programmer, she joined Microsoft in 1993 as a program manager for Visual C++, and led UI design for a number of Windows projects, as well as overseeing the launches of Windows 7 and Windows 8. Myerson is a former software entrepreneur who joined the company in 1997, and previously led Microsoft's Windows Phone division.
This promotion makes Larson-Green one of the most powerful people in gaming. Period.
It comes in the wake of an E3 where Microsoft seemed to excel at generating PR disasters around their tone-deafness when it came to women, all while putting more women in position of power on stage than any other company. The very definition of cognitive dissonance.
About half the leadership under Microsoft under Steve Ballmer remains white men. Google does better with their senior leadership on men of color–it's roughly split down the middle–but has only one woman out of 13 seniors and executives.
Apple's leadership, on the other hand, would be very comfortable on the set of the first few seasons of Mad Men.
That's right: we live in a world where Microsoft is arguably the most progressive of the major tech companies when it comes to their senior staff.
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