ZDNet reports that "a pretty reliable tipster" has informed them that J Allard, Chief Experience Officer of Microsoft and overseer of the development and launch of the Xbox 360, is "on sabbatical and is unlikely to return to Microsoft." According to the tipster, Allard was upset by the sudden, surreptitious cancellation of the Microsoft Courier, which Allard has frequently talked up since it was first revealed last September.
Allard has been one of the main creative forces at Microsoft for ages, as well as one of the most charismatic individuals in the tech industry. It would be a real shame if these reports turn out to be accurate. We've contacted Microsoft to see if we can get a comment on ZDNet's report.