Microsoft has closed the doors to its innovative consumer electronics design office.
The brainchild of J Allard, former chief technology officer of Microsoft’s Entrainment and Device division, Pioneer was a incubated research group formed to design Microsoft’s next-generation consumer products. The group was responsible for the Xbox, Courier Tablet, Zune, parts of Windows Phone 7 and the ill-fated Kin devices. The company’s offices in downtown Seattle were once the heart of Microsoft’s efforts in the consumer space.
Microsoft confirmed to CNET News.com that Pioneer no longer occupies the office in downtown Seattle. Many of Pioneer’s employees have moved onto other Microsoft business units or have left the company. A number of employees were originally recruited from companies such as Nike and Zuba Design, a leading design firm in the United States. CNET reports that the office was big enough to fit 120 employees inside.
Microsoft’s closure of the office confirms the struggles the firm has had in the consumer space in recent years. The company will be hoping that recent Microsoft Research projects like Kinect will win back consumer mind-share and make the company “cool” again.