Stephen Toulouse announces his resignation from Microsoft

With a gaming infrastructure as large as Microsoft's Xbox LIVE, there are always going to be employees who are well known. One of those employees is Stephen Toulouse, also known by the nickname of 'Stepto', and he has been the Director of Policy enforcement on Xbox LIVE. He has announced his plans to leave the company on his personal blog.

According to the blog, Toulouse feels too comfortable with the company, having worked in Microsoft for the past 17 years. During his time with the company, Stepto has written a book chronicling his time with the company, entitled A Microsoft Life. Toulouse speaks of his interest in writing, and mentions his final day working for Microsoft will be February 15th, with his plans for the 16th being to visit his family.

Toulouse also mentions his intentions to take his experience freelance, so he could still be around in the world of videogaming. It would hardly be surprising for him, with his years of experience, to work with Vox Games and The Verge, since the two have been going on a hiring spree and picking up names like Justin McElroy, previously of Joystiq. If you have already read A Microsoft Life and enjoyed it, Toulouse speaks of his plans for finishing a second book.

In an unexpected act, Stepto has also provided his resignation email for readers of his blog and news sites. Names have been removed to maintain privacy, and it helps give an idea of the experiences the company has given him.

Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen.

On a warm Dallas day April 11th, 1994, I grabbed my keys and wallet and headed for the front door of my apartment. I stopped short when I realized I was going to need my building access badge that I had just been given that previous Friday. I walked into my bedroom and grabbed the badge, making a mental note to remember to keep it with my wallet at night so I wouldn’t forget it in the morning. It was my first full day at Microsoft. I was 21.

Since that day (very nearly without exception) I’ve carried a Microsoft badge with me basically where ever I went. That April day I was a contractor with Microsoft, A-Stepto. The following January I was hired as a Microsoft FTE and issued a new email name, SToulouse. Because everyone had already started calling me Stepto, my manager had them change it to Stepto. It stuck.

I wrote in my book about some of the amazing things I’ve been a part of at this company. Shipping Windows 95. Traveling the world in the training organization teaching support engineers about upcoming technologies. Being a security PM and spokesperson for the entire company on security issues. Getting to play a part in the success of Xbox, Xbox LIVE, and Kinect. I can’t possibly conceive of the good fortune, challenges, and rewards I’ve gotten from almost 18 years at Microsoft happening to me anywhere else.

But I’m going to go see just to make sure.

February 15th 2012 will be my last day at Microsoft. My reasons for leaving are complex and personal, but the parting could not be more amicable. I continue to believe this place makes great technology, and I am absolutely thrilled for the future of Xbox and Xbox LIVE.

What are my plans? I don’t have any! That’s both scary and exciting. Well, it’s also a bit untrue. The day after I leave I’m headed out to join my Internet friends on JoCoCruiseCrazy in the Caribbean. And I’m nearly finished with my second book, on a topic unrelated to Microsoft.

But after that I don’t have anything lined up. I’m going to see what happens.

My team will continue its work as always, there will be no interruption. In the meantime don’t worry, we have top men working on an orderly transition. Top men.*

After almost 18 years There’s too many people to thank. First and foremost CSS for my start at Microsoft in the Las Colinas office. TwC for my wonderful time there working at the Microsoft Security Response Center. I’d like to thank Xbox, my team and the entire staff of my wonderful enforcers who work so tirelessly to help protect the Xbox LIVE service. It’s been an incredible privilege and honor to work with people so friendly, dedicated, and nearly impervious to naughty Internet slang.

I’d like to thank Microsoft for an unbelievable set of opportunities, an incredible education that they paid *me* to obtain, and for the opportunity to be neck deep for five years in my first love: video games.

My leaving’s not tied to any event or thing, so I’m not out the door just yet! Please feel free to drop by or chat. After the 15th you can reach me at But be aware I probably won’t be able to answer you until I arrive back in Seattle on the 28th because I’ve always been the guy that checks my email on the beach and I’m not going to be that guy anymore.

I wish you all the very best success. Godspeed and please…

Be excellent to each other.


*I apologize for the gender specificity, but it’s a movie quote. I’ll let you go Bing it. :>

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