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June 12, 2008 1:46 PM

Shakeup in Microsoft games group: Shane Kim replaced by Phil Spencer

Posted by Brier Dudley

Did Microsoft use the Yahoo storm as cover for its announcement of a big reorganization in its games group?

The company announced studio boss Shane Kim is moving into a strategy and business development position, a new VP position in the Interactive Entertainment Business. The release said: "His focus will be on future external relationships and partnerships, as well as developing growth strategies for the entire business."

Taking his place at the studio helm is Phil Spencer, formerly general manager of Microsoft Games Studios Europe. Spencer will relocate to Redmond from U.K. for the position leading all of Microsoft's first-party development and publishing efforts.

Also leaving is Jeff Bell, the group's vice president for global marketing. He "has decided to pursue other opportunities outside Microsoft," according to the release. But Bell will stay through the summer to work through the transition. Filling in will be Matt Barlow, Charlotte Stuyvenberg and Jim Merrick from the marketing and communication teams.

Now all they need to do is start making more first-party games.

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Gadgets and games | Fun stuff I've written about lately includes Apple's iPhone, Hewlett-Packard's HDX laptop and Microsoft's Halo3. Also on the radar are new digital video boxes such as the Tivo HD and the Vudu.