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Old 05-06-2014, 08:43 AM   #1
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Bill Gates sparks debate over Microsoft selling off its Xbox business

http://www.theverge.com/2014/5/6/568...soft-xbox-sale





For years, former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates has avoided tough questions about the software giant, explaining he was focused on his philanthropy work.

After stepping down as Microsoft chairman in February and “substantially” increasing his time at the company, Gates has held one of his first TV interviews since the appointment of Microsoft’s third CEO Satya Nadella. Discussing his new role, Gates remarked that Nadella is off to a great start.

“He’s re-examining all the things,” explains Gates. “He’s already made some really good changes. It’s exciting to have young blood, new thinking.”

While Nadella was one topic of discussion, questions posed by university students during the Fox Business interview revealed some of Gates’ thoughts on Microsoft spinning off its Bing and Xbox businesses.

Investors have been calling for Microsoft to sell off Bing and Xbox over the years, but the company has been reluctant and has continued investing in both. “We’re thinking about, are there pieces that are separable,” admits Gates, while defending Microsoft’s Bing search efforts as a “fundamental technology” for the company.

Gates is pushed on a potential Xbox sale during the interview, but he doesn’t defend Microsoft’s console hardware nearly as much as Bing.

Gates would 'absolutely' support a Nadella Xbox sell off “We’re taking PC gaming, Windows gaming and Xbox gaming, and bringing those a lot closer together,” notes Gates, explaining that Microsoft has an overall gaming strategy so an Xbox sell off is “not as obvious as you might think.”

Despite that, Gates says he’s “sure Satya and the team would look at that [selling off Xbox] and it’s up to them,” adding that he would “absolutely” support Microsoft’s new CEO if he chose to sell the Xbox division.

That's not exactly glowing praise for the Xbox, but it's clearly Gates showing his support of the new Microsoft CEO. Indeed, that's how Microsoft’s head of communications, Frank Shaw, attempted to explain Bill Gates’ comments yesterday, noting they were “support of Satya as CEO." Gates was key to the original introduction of the Xbox back in 2001, standing on stage with The Rock for the console's launch.

The comments also follow rumors that former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop would have considered selling off Microsoft’s Xbox and Bing businesses if he had secured the top job at the company. Elop has now rejoined Microsoft as the head of the company’s hardware business which includes Nokia devices, Surface, and Xbox hardware.

It’s not impossible to imagine an Xbox sell off under Elop and Nadella, especially as Microsoft is inheriting a troubled phone division and the company still isn’t making money with its Surface tablets. However, Xbox is faring well these days thanks to strong Xbox 360 sales and Microsoft’s subscription Xbox Live service.

Microsoft has also released Xbox One with hardware and software that’s more PC-like, thanks in part to the core of the console running Windows 8, and a big focus on TV and entertainment in the living room.

All of this work makes it increasingly difficult for Microsoft to package its Xbox software and hardware into a company it could easily sell off.

Whether or not Bill Gates truly backs the idea is unclear, but Gates’ comments may suggest that those ideas are being floated around inside the company.

Xbox One might be lagging behind Sony’s PlayStation 4 sales, but the Xbox is still an important brand that’s recognized by consumers over many other failed hardware efforts from Microsoft.

That alone could convince Microsoft not to sell off its Xbox business in the near future, but investor calls for an Xbox sale will undoubtedly continue.
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Old 05-06-2014, 11:54 AM   #2
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I didn't read this one but why would they sell the xbox brand?
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Old 05-06-2014, 01:48 PM   #3
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I didn't read this one but why would they sell the xbox brand?
Yeah, even if it doesn't make them much money compared to some of their other divisions, they still have a highly dedicated consumer base. A move like this would hurt them a lot
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Old 05-06-2014, 02:14 PM   #4
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"Investors have been calling for Microsoft to sell off Bing and Xbox over the years" but, why? As the above said, they get a lot out of Xbox, it would make more sense if it was just Bing I guess.
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Old 05-06-2014, 07:45 PM   #5
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Last year Apple made more money from just the iPhone than Microsoft did across their entire business! They probably need to do something to either boost their business or streamline what they do when that's their direct competition.

A dramatic change in business model is probably called for. And besides, if they sell off the XBox and it gets redeveloped and the next gen is a great new console, it might actually become something worth buying

Maybe SEGA could buy it and we could finally see a Dreamcast 2
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Old 05-06-2014, 08:27 PM   #6
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I think Opus hit the nail on the head: mobile gaming is still a massive beast that console and handheld gaming are still trying to corner. For every Call of Duty on a home console or Mario on handheld, you have a Candy Crush, Clash of Clans, and Flappy Bird on mobile.

Why sell off the Xbox brand? One reason why is because Microsoft was never a games company, so why spend 12+ years trying to become one? Windows 8 and anyhing related to it have proven to be divisive as best and a failure at worst for MS. Rather than push their game console arm of the company, they should sell it off and refocus on computer software that made them successful to begin with. I don't agree with the notion, but that's how I see it if I were an investor.
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Old 05-06-2014, 08:49 PM   #7
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I think Opus hit the nail on the head: mobile gaming is still a massive beast that console and handheld gaming are still trying to corner. For every Call of Duty on a home console or Mario on handheld, you have a Candy Crush, Clash of Clans, and Flappy Bird on mobile.

Why sell off the Xbox brand? One reason why is because Microsoft was never a games company, so why spend 12+ years trying to become one? Windows 8 and anyhing related to it have proven to be divisive as best and a failure at worst for MS. Rather than push their game console arm of the company, they should sell it off and refocus on computer software that made them successful to begin with. I don't agree with the notion, but that's how I see it if I were an investor.
Nobody buys an iPhone to play games though. They just sold more because Apple and the iPhone are absolutely ginormous in a LOT of the world, while xbox is mostly US and I guess EU
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Old 05-06-2014, 09:21 PM   #8
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Indeed. When I was last in Japan, XBox stuff was hard to find. It was all about the PS3, the Wii and (Wii-U hadn't released then) and 3DS. But I have to say, my impression in Japan is that mobile gaming is the future. Consoles have a tough 20 years ahead of them full stop. Maybe this is Gates being very shrewd and selling XBox for big $$$ before the console bubble finally bursts???
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Old 05-06-2014, 09:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Opus Science View Post
Indeed. When I was last in Japan, XBox stuff was hard to find. It was all about the PS3, the Wii and (Wii-U hadn't released then) and 3DS. But I have to say, my impression in Japan is that mobile gaming is the future. Consoles have a tough 20 years ahead of them full stop. Maybe this is Gates being very shrewd and selling XBox for big $$$ before the console bubble finally bursts???
Yeah it could be, Bill ain't a stupid guy after all. I was just saying people don't buy phones for the games on it. Consoles kind of have to compete against phones but phones don't need to vise versa
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Old 05-06-2014, 09:49 PM   #10
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Nobody buys an iPhone to play games though. They just sold more because Apple and the iPhone are absolutely ginormous in a LOT of the world, while xbox is mostly US and I guess EU
Of course not. But it's the ease of convenience. Why go out and buy a console and a couple games for $250+ when I can get cheap and more often than not free games on my phone? This is where mobile gaming has consoles by the balls; even handheld titles just can't provide that ease of convenience for a gaming fix that they used to.
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