The Father Of The Xbox Leaving Microsoft?

Say. It. Ain't. So. Reports indicate that J Allard, a driving force behind the design of the Xbox (and the Zune) is leaving Microsoft, after his latest dream project was binned by the company.

Having been the former pin-up boy of Microsoft's video game consoles, especially in the lead-up to the launch of the Xbox 360, Allard - sorry, Dr. Allard - had recently been working on the Courier, an amazing tablet computer concept that was one of the coolest things coming out Microsoft in years.

The Courier project was recently cancelled by Microsoft, however, and a report on ZDNet claims that having had serious disagreements with Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer over the potential of the device, Allard is now on "sabbatical" and "is unlikely to return to Microsoft".

If true, this is a shame. Not just because we used to hide outside his house and steal hair clippings from his trash, but because the guy made a massive contribution to the video game industry, and that kind of insight will be missed by many, not least Microsoft.

Where in the world is J Allard? [ZDNet]