HBO CTO Otto Berkes resigns

December 9, 2014, 11:30 PM UTC
Microsoft Releases The Microsoft Touch Pack For Windows XP
REDMOND, WASHINGTON - MARCH 7: In this handout image provided by Microsoft, Otto Berkes, general manager of Microsoft's Ultra-Mobile Personal Computer (UMPC) Division, poses with the Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows XP running on the Samsung Q1 Ultra-Mobile PC at company headquarters March 7, 2006 in Redmond, Washington. The software optimizes the touch screen user interface for UMPCs to simplify navigation and ease-of-use while on the go. The Touch Pack's customizable Program Launcher organizes software programs into categories, and uses large buttons and icons to make it easy to find and open your favorite applications. The Touch Pack also includes a thumb based on-screen keyboard that is touch-optimized for easy text input. (Photo by Robert Sorbo/Microsoft via Getty Images)
Photograph by Robert Sorbo — Microsoft via Getty Images

HBO’s chief technology officer Otto Berkes has resigned, according to a memo obtained by Variety. The resignation comes on the heels of a report today from Fortune regarding speculation that Berkes would be fired or demoted this week.

HBO is gearing up to launch an “over the top” streaming service that will allow customers to subscribe to HBO without buying a traditional cable package. The service is expected to launch in April, but HBO’s management did not have faith that Berkes’ team could build the technology required to support the service. HBO’s streaming service for subscribers, called HBO Go, crashed several times this year.

HBO struck a deal to license software from MLB Advanced Media to operate its new streaming service. That means Berkes’ internal project, called “Maui,” is dead. Berkes resigned, citing that as a top reason for his departure.

From his memo:

Recently HBO’s management decided to partner with a third party to assist HBO in bringing our OTT service to market in 2015. This is a change in direction from what I planned with HBO and the approach will not utilize my overall capabilities. Therefore, I feel that this is the right time for me to move on from HBO so that I am able to fully pursue my passion building world-class technology teams, products and businesses.

Berkes became HBO’s CTO in 2012, a year after he joined the company from Microsoft. There, he was credited with founding Xbox. During his tenure, Berkes set up a large office in Seattle with 55 engineers.

It is not clear where Mark Thomas, SVP of Technology Program Management, and Drew Angeloff, SVP, Digital Products, stand in the wake of HBO’s management change.