Today in a rolling news cycle, Microsoft lost an executive to Zynga, who gained a CEO in the deal. Zynga’s Mark Pincus will step down from his role as chief executive, stay chairman of its board, and take on the job of chief product officer.

Mattrick’s exit is a material loss for Microsoft, given that the now former ‘Softie was head of its entertainment division, which is in the current cycle of releasing a new console, a music service, and exclusive content factory.

Here’s Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s letter to the Microsoft corps:

Zynga announced today that Don Mattrick would be its new CEO, effective July 8. This is a great opportunity for Don, and I wish him success. Don’s directs will report to me and will continue to drive the day-to-day business as a team, particularly focused on shipping Xbox One this holiday.

Since joining IEB more than six years ago, Don and his team have accomplished much. Xbox Live members grew from 6 million to 48 million. Xbox 360 became the No. 1 selling console in North America the past two years. We introduced Kinect and have sold more than 24 million sensors. We released fantastic games, and, most importantly, we expanded Xbox to go beyond great gaming to deliver all the entertainment people want — sports, music, movies, live television and much more.

In the past month, the IEB team showed for the first time here on our Redmond campus, and again at E3, how we are going to continue to transform entertainment with Xbox One. I am incredibly proud of the work and vision culminating in Xbox One.

I’m particularly excited about how Xbox pushes forward our devices and services transformation by bringing together the best of Microsoft. The consoles are incredible all-in-one devices with built-in services that consumers love, including Bing, Xbox Live, Internet Explorer, SkyDrive and Skype. And, just as important, Xbox Games, Xbox Video, Xbox Music and SmartGlass light up Windows PCs, tablets and phones.

Thank you, Don, for setting us on a path to completely redefine the entertainment industry. The strong leadership team at IEB and their teams are well positioned to deliver the next-generation entertainment console, as well as transformative entertainment experiences, long into the future.

Steve

Microsoft apparently doesn’t have a successor in mind. Given that fact, and the context that Mattrick was all but recently the most public face of the Xbox One and Xbox 360 refresh, you have to wonder if Microsoft had much heads up on the exit.

Zynga investors, however, love the move.

Top Image Credit: Microsoft Sweden