Open main menu

J Allard (born James Allard, on January 12, 1969 in Glens Falls, New York)[1] is the CEO of Project 529,[2] an American company building software for cyclists. Prior to starting Project 529, Allard was Chief Experience Officer and Chief Technology Officer for the Entertainment and Devices Division at Microsoft. He also oversaw Microsoft's first foray into the video game industry, the Xbox and the Xbox 360, and he is also known to have contributed to the first edition of the specification for the Windows Sockets API, with assistance from many others.

J Allard
J Allard, Co-founder Project 529.jpg
James Allard

January 12, 1969 (1969-01-12) (age 50)
OccupationCEO, Project 529
Known forFormer Microsoft executive



Allard is a 1991 Boston University graduate with a bachelor's degree in computer science. In 2003, he received the Distinguished Alumni award and delivered the CS department commencement address.[3] He later received an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Letters) from Boston University at the 2009 Boston University Commencement Ceremony.[4]


The former Chief Experience Officer is known for his historic 1994 memo, "Windows: The Next Killer Application on the Internet",[5] about the coming rise of the Internet. The memo, distributed to Microsoft leaders, reshaped the company's direction. According to an internal email, Allard was a network engineer responsible for convincing Microsoft to ship TCP/IP in Windows 95.


When Bryan Lee stepped down in 2007 from his post as Zune Executive in charge of business development, Allard took over as the new executive.[6] Allard oversaw development of the Microsoft Zune, a handheld portable media device, initially seen by some media as a potential iPod rival.[7] Allard has notably signed several artists as part of a broad Zune marketing campaign by Microsoft, which included heavy promotion during Seattle's Bumbershoot festival in 2006.


The Microsoft Kin phone project, first known by the codename 'Project Pink', began under Allard in 2008. After an internal power struggle, control of the project was moved from Allard to Andy Lees, who headed the Windows Phone division.[8] The project cost Microsoft US$1 billion and was discontinued on June 30, 2010 due to poor sales.[9][10]


Allard headed up the team at Microsoft that created the two-screen tablet prototype called Courier. His vision for Microsoft's tablet future lost out to Steven Sinofsky's Windows 8-on-a-tablet vision. Shortly after Steve Ballmer's decision to cancel development of the Courier, Allard and his boss Robbie Bach (then President of Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices division) left Microsoft, though both said their decisions to leave were unrelated to the Courier cancellation.[11]

Retirement from MicrosoftEdit

On May 25, 2010, Allard, along with Robbie Bach left Microsoft. For a time, Allard was an adviser to Steve Ballmer on product incubation and User Experience design.[12]

Upon announcing his retirement, Allard wrote an internal email named "Decide. Change. Reinvent." to Microsoft employees discussing his career history at Microsoft and attempting to instill inspiration to a group of employees at Microsoft he refers to as "The Tribe." According to Allard, "The Tribe" is "a group of people diverse in perspective, similar in skills and completely, totally galvanized around one central purpose. Change." [13]

Before leaving Microsoft, Allard became a director of The Clymb, a Flash sale site featuring outdoor products. In June 2011, The Clymb raised $2 million from a handful of angel investors, including Allard.[14]


  1. ^ "J Allard". BusinessWeek Online. Retrieved November 29, 2006.
  2. ^ "About Project 529". Retrieved April 16, 2014.
  3. ^ "BUCS Commencement 2003". Boston University. May 2003. Retrieved April 16, 2014.
  4. ^ "BU Commencement 2009 - Speakers and Honorees - J Allard". Boston University. May 1, 2009. Archived from the original on May 17, 2009. Retrieved May 18, 2009.
  5. ^ "Leaders of The Pack". Newsweek International. April 25, 2005. p. 41. ISSN 0163-7053.
  6. ^ "One Zune exec out; J Allard takes over the program". Retrieved October 15, 2007.
  7. ^ "J Allard: Corporate Vice President, Design and Development, Entertainment and Devices Division". Microsoft. October 6, 2006. Retrieved November 12, 2006.
  8. ^ Ziegler, Chris (July 2, 2010). "Life and death of Microsoft Kin: the inside story". Engadget. AOL. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  9. ^ Eric Zeman (July 8, 2010). "Does It Matter How Many Kins Microsoft Sold?". InformationWeek.
  10. ^ "Microsoft Kills Kin". Gizmodo. June 30, 2010. Retrieved June 30, 2010.
  11. ^ "The inside story of how Microsoft killed its Courier tablet". CNet. November 1, 2011.
  12. ^ Brian Crecente. "Father of the Xbox, Head of Gadgets and Fun Leave Microsoft [Update]". Kotaku. Gawker Media. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
  13. ^ ""If you want to change the world with technology…" - The Official Microsoft Blog - Site Home - TechNet Blogs". 25 May 2010. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
  14. ^ "How Windows 8 KO'd the innovative Courier tablet". CNET. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 10 September 2015.

External linksEdit