Whoa, that’s a superstar team at IEB (Xbox), what the heck are they building?

cutler-avatarMary Jo Foley broke the news today that Microsoft legend Dave Cutler is no longer working on Azure, but has moved over to IEB (Interactive Entertainment Business), the home of Xbox and Zune, among others.

Cutler came to Microsoft in 1988 from Digital Equipment Co. to build Windows NT.  Chronicled in “ShowStopper”, the 1994 book by G. Pascal Zachary (subtitled “the breakneck race to create Windows NT and the next generation at Microsoft”), he has become something of a legend when it comes to talking about Microsoft lore.  (We’ll spare the Wikipedia reference today to note their anti-SOPA blackout)

When it became known that Cutler had moved to Azure in 2009, that in itself gave credence to the project in the eyes of industry watchers.  Alistair Croll at BitCurrent said at the time:

(I)t’s unwise to pin your hopes on a single person. But I’m going to do so, because that person is Dave Cutler. Dave is a lead developer for Windows Azure. That means it won’t suck.

In the meantime, a number of other notable ‘Softies have (quietly or otherwise) been moving over to IEB: David Treadwell (who came to Microsoft in 1989 as a 23 year old kid fresh out of Princeton to work for Cutler), Don Box, another Microsoft “rock star” very familiar to anyone who’s watched a Mix or PDC keynote, and a Microsoft Distinguished Engineer, also headed to IEB sometime before February 2011, when Mary Jo Foley reported on his new position, and former MSN and Bing executive Yusuf Mehdi (another name quite familiar to LiveSide readers) moved over to IEB as Chief Marketing Officer, a move that was announced this past November.

So what’s going on over there?  And how the heck does it relate (if it even does) to Windows 8?  Why would the likes of Don Box be working on developer tools for Xbox v.Next, but not for Metro style apps?  Why isn’t Dave Cutler working on Windows 8, for that matter?  And with Treadwell over at IEB, what does this mean for the (pretty uncertain, if you ask us) future of Live Mesh?

Whatever they’re building at IEB, whether it’s just a “Kinect Box”, the next-gen “Xbox 720”, or a whole new “Living Room Platform”, one thing we can be sure of, “it won’t suck”!!

Showstopper-210-exp(ps we highly recommend ShowStopper. Even though it’s 18 years old, it still contains a wealth of knowledge and an inside look at Microsoft and a cast of characters, many who are still there. It’s available for as little as 14 cents (!!!) from Amazon, worth many many times that!).