Video services

Former Microsoft Exec Joins Cisco's Video Group

Enrique Rodriguez, a former exec at Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s video and music division, is joining Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) to take on a key role at the tech giant's Service Provider Video Technology Group (SPVTG), Light Reading Cable has learned.

According to an internal announcement from Cisco issued Friday and obtained by Light Reading Cable, Rodriguez will be joining Cisco as SVP and GM of SPVTG as the company moves to consolidate all of its service provider, video-focused assets under the newly named exec. The announcement notes that Rodriguez will head up Cisco's video new business development, and that three high-level Cisco (and former Scientific-Atlanta) execs -- Dwight Duke, Michael Harney, and Pat Tylka -- will report to Rodriguez starting June 7.

Rodriguez also has more than 20 years at RCA/Thomson (now Technicolor (Euronext Paris: TCH; NYSE: TCH)) under his belt, where he was responsible for the company's global digital TV and broadband business, which included set-top boxes, headend gear, and cable and DSL modems. His bio notes that he holds more than 25 US patents, as well as some "international derivatives."

Cisco confirmed Rodriguez's appointment Friday afternoon. "Enrique brings extensive experience, working with a variety of leading global service providers to successfully deliver innovative video services to market," the company statement said.

News of Rodriguez's new assignment at Cisco comes roughly four months after word spread that he left his position at Microsoft, where he was serving as corporate VP of TV, video, and music, responsible for high-profile Microsoft products such as Mediaroom, Windows Media Center, and Zune. Rodriguez joined Microsoft in 2004 and is credited with leading the team that helped turn the Xbox 360 into a device that does more than play games.

Microsoft entertainment and devices president Robbie Bach stepped in to assume control of Mediaroom and the company's TV business, but Microsoft recently announced that Bach has decided to retire, and unexpectedly at that, at the age of 48.

Bach's decision, coupled with Rodriguez's earlier departure, comes amid a shakeup at Microsoft that also includes the departure of chief technology officer J. Allard, though Allard will reportedly keep his hand in there to advise on "a specific set of projects."

All of that movement comes despite some long-needed domestic cable activity for Microsoft, which, according to sources, is working with Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) on an IPTV trial in Los Angeles. (See TWC Taps Microsoft Mediaroom for IPTV Test .)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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