Robbie Bach, a 22 year veteran of Microsoft and most recently the company’s Xbox division, has moved to Sonos.
Bach has been lying low since he left Microsoft last year as president of its entertainment and devices division, decompressing after spending the better part of two decades working 60 to 70 hour weeks, he says. He has spent time on the boards of two non-profits, the Boys & Girls Club of America and the U.S. Olympic Committee.
“Santa Barbara-based Sonos CEO and founder John MacFarlane pulled Bach out of semi-retirement in order to help with their retail presence. When MacFarlane, asked him to join the company’s board, Bach decided to tip-toe back into the business world in part because he is a longtime user of Sonos’ products, an audio system for wirelessly streaming music around the house,” reports the Wall Street Journal.
The system consists of various hardware devices, ranging in price from $300 to $500, that let consumers play music from local music collections and Internet song services like Pandora and Spotify, giving them the ability to beam the tunes to speakers in different rooms at the same time.
“Part of what makes the product magical is it’s really easy to use,” Bach says in an interview.
The company has gone for years without retail stores, an amazing feat for a homegrown, fairly small organization that has never gone public. “It’s not for the faint of heart,” McFarlane says. “Sometimes in the past eight years I’ve wondered if I was one of the dumbest people on earth. You can put your company out of business in a heartbeat with a product defect.”
MacFarlane says Sonos expects to post revenue of about $250 million this year, roughly double the prior year’s revenue.
Bach says he expects to help Sonos primarily with advice about marketing and its retail presence, both areas that he played a large role in during his Xbox days. “I think I can help there,” he says.