The new man to sit in the VC’s chair is Rick Thompson. Up till now, the Zune unit has been under the direct control of J Allard. The change was announced last Thursday by Entertainment and Division president Robbie Bach, in internal e-mail.

Thompson joined Microsoft back in 1987 as a product manager for Microsoft’s mouse business. He became general manager of Microsoft’s hardware operations in 1991 and was promoted again to vice-president five years later, in1996.

Critics were quick to say that Thompson might not be the best man for the job. His age was the first thing brought to the discussion, as he is considered to be too old as compared to Zune’s target and, therefore, unable to really understand the needs of the public.

Also, it was said that Thompson might be too fond of the Microsoft’s corporate culture after the long time he has spend with the company and thus, would lack the ability to understand the dynamics of the industry.

At present time, the Zune is far behind Apple’s iPod and there are no chances of quickly catching up to it. Still, it would be interesting to see if Microsoft manages to gain some ground in the long run.

Don’t be too quick to place your bets yet. Years ago Microsoft looked like the losing party when it launched its Xbox brand. Right now, the new model has a significant lead on the PlayStation 3 stands a solid change to finish the race before its Japanese competitor.