Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Takes Control Of Xbox Division

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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Takes Control Of Xbox Division

Steve Ballmer

Don Mattrick has left Microsoft for Zynga. As the firm has no immediate replacement for Mattrick, CEO Steve Ballmer will now lead the Xbox division.

Undoubtedly the biggest news story to emerge this week was word that Xbox President Don Mattrick had decided to leave Microsoft in favor of taking over as CEO at casual games factory Zynga. It's undeniably an industry-shaking event, but in all this hubbub few thought to ask who might be taking Mattrick's old job. As it turns out, no one is taking that position just yet. Instead, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will oversee the Xbox wing until such time as the company can find a suitable Mattrick analogue.

Ballmer, as many techies know, has a long history with Microsoft, and while he has no direct experience in leading the company's games division, it shouldn't be all that difficult compared to the stresses of managing one of the world's largest tech companies. Of course, if it is, Ballmer has his own way of dealing with work stress. To wit, this incident (courtesy Wikipedia, for brevity's sake):

In 2005, Mark Lucovsky alleged in a sworn statement to a Washington state court that Ballmer became enraged upon hearing that Lucovsky was about to leave Microsoft for Google, picked up his chair, and threw it across his office, and that, referring to Google CEO Eric Schmidt (who previously worked for competitors Sun and Novell), Ballmer vowed to "kill Google" in an expletive-laden tirade then resumed trying to persuade Lucovsky to stay at Microsoft. Ballmer has described Lucovsky's account of the incident as a "gross exaggeration of what actually took place".

Whether the chair-throwing claims are legitimate or not, that incident has become indelibly linked to Ballmer's public persona over the past few years. We don't actually think the man is going to start tossing chairs at people if the Xbox One doesn't immediately break sales records, but it's hilarious to imagine, so we're going to cling to this idea that Ballmer is more or less Donkey Kong sans barrels.

How does Ballmer feel about his new role? That's an easy question, as the man issued an official email on the topic:

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.

While nothing exists to indicate that Ballmer's kind words are anything less than 100-percent truthful, we also have to suspect that this email was an attempt to calm Microsoft shareholders who may have grown understandably skittish in the wake of Mattrick's departure. "Don was great, but we're great too, and the Xbox division will do just fine," the email seems to say.

Expect more on this situation just as soon as Microsoft finds a long-term replacement for Mattrick (or failing that, as soon as Ballmer kidnaps Pauline).

Source: CVG

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They send in the heavy!

I expect balmer to be like a tank operator putting the xbox on full revs and that we will see allot. And I mean allot of push from Microsoft side!

Peaceful Summer? Forget it Balmer is taking the command seat. And that means its war.. really war.

bahahhahhahahahahhahahahahhahahahhahaha

*breath*

babahahahhahahhahahahahahhahahahhahahah

oh dear *wipes away the tears*...sorry, this is just too juicy...

if you're an xbox dude...gawd are you in the shit now...you can forget about any gamer related "empathy" from this prick.
you're just a dollar value to a would be monopolist now.

this guy is regularly labelled "The worst CEO in the tech industry"...he's the main reason MS is so much of "a follower" rather than "a market leader" nowadays that it's actually painful to watch them attempt to claim otherwise.

Hahaha. This guy plainly shows Microsoft hasn't backtracked at all.

Microsoft did revoke some bad points but he's lying about others.

Region Lock is gone. The once every 24 hour internet requirement is gone and so is the console locking.
However Microsoft is not as honest about the offline gaming.

I'll explain. They claimed you can play an offline game on an offline console.
However they did not explain what an offline game actually is.
I asked around, here's what I was told.

An offline game is a game without ANY features that require an internet connection.
Optional multiplayer and co-op? Online game.
Social media interaction? Online game.
Micro-transactions? Online game.
Posting highscores, achievements or other things online? Online game.
General "Cloud Interaction"? Online game.
Ability to put a save file on "the cloud"? Online game.

This means that there will hardly be any games that can be called offline games.
And all those online games? They require a CONSTANT internet connection.

So no. There will be no offline gaming since there will be no offline games.
They left the DRM up to the publishers and we know what publishers will do.
It's that plain and simple. We're still going to have a console with a constant internet requirement because all the games will have a constant internet requirement and Microsoft is all to happy to make that happen.

Oh thats just too much for one day :')

This has to be Sony's best advertising campaign for the Playstation I have ever seen.

Bravo, Sony. Bravo *claps with respect*

SkarKrow:
Oh thats just too much for one day :')

I can't stop laughing myself to be quite honest. I mean out of everyone out there, Ballmer is the new head of the Xbox Division. I can see this not going to well. XD

OT: No seriously, you could have chosen Phil Spencer, but Ballmer!? I'm both laughing and crying. Laughing because of this decision, and crying because I kinda was hoping that the Xbox Division was gonna change.

I need to post this now because I'm sure that Iwata and Hirai are doing this right now:

Great. The guy responsible for the mess that Microsoft's in is now in charge of Xbox. And I don't think I've ever seen someone more obviously addicted to cocaine.

If only they had started e3 like this...

Xbox, it's time to Monkey dance!

Wow this is a great time to be a Playstation fan. Microsoft has gone absolutely bat-shit insane.

//Edit: a pox on thee, FinalDream ;)

That was funny but I don't fully comprehend this.

Exactly how bad is Ballmer anyway? I figure from what people are saying that he's responsible for what M$ is today but can someone clarify what exactly defined him as a "Bad tech CEO", this is kind of the first time I've heard of his name before.

Neronium:

SkarKrow:
Oh thats just too much for one day :')

I can't stop laughing myself to be quite honest. I mean out of everyone out there, Ballmer is the new head of the Xbox Division. I can see this not going to well. XD

OT: No seriously, you could have chosen Phil Spencer, but Ballmer!? I'm both laughing and crying. Laughing because of this decision, and crying because I kinda was hoping that the Xbox Division was gonna change.

I need to post this now because I'm sure that Iwata and Hirai are doing this right now:

Oh god damn I know right.

This can only end in hilarity. All the more reason I'll be avoiding the Xbox One.

Or the XBone as you kids call it...

Skull joke!Yohoho!

This all seems fairly sensible and professional by Microsoft, it sounds like Ballmer is holding down the fort until they can hire someone and he's got the experience and the enthusiasm to do that, even at the time of a console launch. His letter was well-written and covered most of the points people wanted covered and seemed to quash ideas that Don was pushed out (although not completely, because that is also what I would do if I'd just pushed someone out and didn't want everyone to have a bad taste in their mouth about the issue) and he jumped straight into selling the console. And it even makes sense that he'd want to hype up all the parts of Microsoft and advertise the company as a whole. It was unavoidable really and business protocol practically demanded it...

with built-in services that consumers love, including Bing,

...but no-one loves Bing Microsoft. No-one.

CyberMachinist:
That was funny but I don't fully comprehend this.

Exactly how bad is Ballmer anyway? I figure from what people are saying that he's responsible for what M$ is today but can someone clarify what exactly defined him as a "Bad tech CEO", this is kind of the first time I've heard of his name before.

He currently has a 47% approval rating from his own company. Plus he was #1 on Forbes' Worst CEOs of America list last year.

While he surely can't do as terribly as Mattrick, the choice of Ballmer over others is simply just stupid. Especially with some of the decisions he's made since he became CEO.

CyberMachinist:
That was funny but I don't fully comprehend this.

Exactly how bad is Ballmer anyway? I figure from what people are saying that he's responsible for what M$ is today but can someone clarify what exactly defined him as a "Bad tech CEO", this is kind of the first time I've heard of his name before.

think about what MS has done since windows 95 (which was their last real entirely indigenous "big hit" as a company)

everything it has done.

eve-ry-thing.

at every turn it has been following someone elses lead.

if you look into it you'll discover that's the whole modern history of the company.

whether its Netscape or Apple they now always follow...they are behind...they do their twist and then try and win through marketing and then trying to convince everyone their product is "the best"...which for the most part has failed...constantly...for decades...to the point MS no longer has the market capital to buy out what it sees as up and coming companies and appear to be an innovator any more.

look at how he talks about "bing" (and IE...and windows phone...) and yet i've never even visited it's search page.

not even out of curiosity.

have you ?

meanwhile Ballmer claims "Google is not a real company"...

he lives in a fantasy world and enforces his view on everyone around him.

and he expects the world to conform to that view.

which tbh, now that i think of it, is the xbone in a nutshell isn't it ?...

he's a horrendously bad CEO and the only reason he's in the job is because Bill put him in it when he left because A. he's actually historically a very good salesman (which was great when MS main business angle was shifting corporate product) and B. he's totally signed up to Bills deliberately monopolistic "an MS powered box in ever home" vision.

on the plus side he's rapidly heading for 60 and given the amount of coke he obviously does he might drop dead any moment...

but then once Ballmer is gone the big shareholders will get their pick of the next CEO and that's likely to be the end of "the xbox division" at MS...

This is not a step up for the XBox One. The good part is that it's not actually a step down either. The last guy was an idiot, him and Zynga deserve each other. I'll withhold judgement until such time as this has some sort of outcome.

Oh sweet merciful god, please let this be as short term as humanly possible, for the good of Xbox.

Or make it as long as possible, so that it is absolutely hilarious, one way or the other.

I think this is as close as we're ever going to get to a literal lunatic running the asylum.

Personally, if you want to have a decent guy in charge I'd go for Peter Moore, if he doesn't get the EA top job.

Well, this isn't good. I guess he could turn it around, but I'm putting my money on it being as if the captain of the titanic, after hitting the iceberg, handed it to his second in command, who then ploughed it into another. I'm sticking with the PS4

Well we should expect the Xbone to be selling at half price about two years after launch.

Oshit. I'm laughing and crying, somewhere inside. Laughing because this tops the Xbone debacle wonderfully well, and crying because I genuinely liked my years spent with the Xbox 360.

Take me, Sony! TAKE ME NOW!

This must be a plot to drive everyone to PC gaming so they can actually boost Windows 8 Sales.

I guess they couldn't find a sack of potatoes emblazoned with the words 'Fuck you consumers! #Dealwithit' to replace Mattrick? It's a pretty cheap and effective way to replace Microsoft executives, does all the same work and after a few days you can replace it with a fresh sack and have loads of mash for lunch!

Neronium:

He currently has a 47% approval rating from his own company. Plus he was #1 on Forbes' Worst CEOs of America list last year.

While he surely can't do as terribly as Mattrick, the choice of Ballmer over others is simply just stupid. Especially with some of the decisions he's made since he became CEO.

Sleekit:

snip

Ah so that's why, thanks for clearing that up.

and about that following trend they did, i was too young to have known about it at the time, Frankly I don't know much about windows 95 and after since i got my first PC in 2000 or was that 1999?

*Ahem* now that is out of my system...

OT: Eh, at least he was more charisma than Don Mattrick.
I mean, He has the whole "Crazy ass man" thing going for him over Don "Business Casual"
Still not sure if this will change anything sales wise though.

Diablo1099:
He has the whole "Crazy ass man" thing going for him over Don "Business Casual"

He is a psychopath on coke. I mean that literally. He is an actual psychopath. A lot of CEO's are but no one quite as obvious as Ballmer. And he is on coke.

synobal:
This must be a plot to drive everyone to PC gaming so they can actually boost Windows 8 Sales.

Guess you read today's extra punctuation as well, huh?

Adam Jensen:

Diablo1099:
He has the whole "Crazy ass man" thing going for him over Don "Business Casual"

He is a psychopath on coke. I mean that literally. He is an actual psychopath. A lot of CEO's are but no one quite as obvious as Ballmer. And he is on coke.

Hey, admit it, we all want to be like him though, Rich, hyped up on drugs and not giving a fuck about anything.

/Yes, I am channeling Memetic Badass. :P

I bought popcorn, coke and crisps. Let's enjoy the show this guy puts on...

Looking at Ballmer's track record, this'll be stand-up comedy gold.

As for driving everybody to PC gaming to boost Win8 sales: that's kind of in the proccess of backfiring. With a lot of indie devs already offering Linux versions and Valve having ported Source to Linux, Windows is on the decline[1]. Slowly, but steadily on the decline.

[1] Pretty much all the other engines can be prted to Linux effortlessly too - since they run on PS4, they already have an OpenGL-compatible output module. Drivers? Bad, but improving slowly.

The trainwreck that is the Xbone just keeps on giving pure comedy gold.

Wow... didn't see this coming.

I've heard bad things about him so I'm a little what kind of crazy stuff he's going to do with this game division position.

Good...god that picture is terrifying...

He looks like that scary giant Nazi from The Rocketeer movie

Okay so from what I am hearing we can all pretty much expect to be hating the X-Keanu with full force again within the coming weeks?

SNAP INTO A SLIM JIM! OH YEAH!

This is just an amazing picture, it basically says I am going to get your money, whether you like it or not!

Earnest Cavalli:
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Takes Control Of Xbox Division

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.

Permalink

YES THAT IS THE GAMING FOCUS I WANT OUT OF A DAMN CONSOLE!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOTTTTTT!!!!!!!!

Congratz it is official even with another tool in charge games are an afterthought mentioned in the middle of all the other shit the "console" does. I like my real Xbox 1 and I liked my 360 (both of them) They can go to hell with this shit they are pulling now.

Undoubtedly the biggest funniest news story to emerge this week year was word that Xbox President Don Mattrick had decided to leave Microsoft in favor of taking over as CEO at casual games factory Zynga.

Just made a couple corrections there for ya.

A word of advice to Ballmer: if you want the XBone to be a success while at the same time making a good first impression with gamers, you should immediately lower the price of the XBone $100 by getting rid of the mandatory Kinect.

There is only one possible way they could make this disaster any worse.

Fortunately, its extremely likely to be exactly what they're going to do - appoint Phil Harrison as the head of the Xbox division.

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