Bill Gates Would Support Xbox Spin-Off, But Microsoft Says No

Bill Gates Would Support Xbox Spin-Off, But Microsoft Says No

Bill Gates

Microsoft founder Bill Gates says he'd "absolutely" support a decision to spin off the Xbox business, leading his former company to quickly insist that it's not actually considering it.

There's been a lot of talk over the years about the possibility of Microsoft spinning off its Xbox division, and it's only strengthened in recent months with the ascension of Satya Nadella to the post of CEO. But what Bill Gates says still matters, and in fact it turns out that he's been spending a not-inconsiderable amount of his time offering his counsel to Nadella.

"He's off to a great start," Gates said during a Fox Business interview. "He has used more of my time than was the case before, and I'm enjoying going and giving some advice, but he's reexamining all the things. He's already made some really good changes. It's exciting to have some young blood - new thinking."

When questioned about the possibility of spinning off some Microsoft businesses, particularly the Xbox division, he initially sounded a bit hesitant. "We're taking PC gaming - Windows gaming - and Xbox gaming and bringing those a lot closer together," he said. "The power of the PC graphics chips means you can do great games there. So I'm sure Satya and the team will look at that, and it's up to them, but we're going to have an overall gaming strategy, so it's not as obvious as you might think."

When asked if he would support a decision to spin off the Xbox business, however, he was far more forthright, replying, "Absolutely."

It was the only possible answer to the question - anything else would seriously undermine the authority of a guy who's been in the top job for just a few months - but it was still enough to get Microsoft scrambling to reassure people that it is not actually thinking about setting the Xbox free.

"Context: Bill's comments re Xbox reflected support of Satya as CEO. Also said committed to gaming x-plat with Xbox as key to gaming strategy," Microsoft Corporate Communications VP Frank X. Shaw tweeted. "2/2 (should have started numbering earlier) :) Microsoft remains committed to Xbox and the millions of Xbox fans around the world."

Source: Fox Business

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Literally all of the news I've heard about the XBox has been terrible, starting E3 2013. What the hell is going on with MS?

SKBPinkie:
Literally all of the news I've heard about the XBox has been terrible, starting E3 2013. What the hell is going on with MS?

It truly is amazing how, after last year's E3, I went from ONLY owning an Xbox 360 to not even considering it this generation unless they do something absolutely incredible, but it's totally off my radar now.

Trishbot:

SKBPinkie:
Literally all of the news I've heard about the XBox has been terrible, starting E3 2013. What the hell is going on with MS?

It truly is amazing how, after last year's E3, I went from ONLY owning an Xbox 360 to not even considering it this generation unless they do something absolutely incredible, but it's totally off my radar now.

Same here. I absolutely frickin' love Halo, but I'm really not sure I want to promote MS anymore and get an Xbone. I just recently got myself a gaming PC, and I don't think I'll ever go back to consoles. 60 fps has ruined console gaming for me.

The only exception is if there are several console exclusives worth getting into. But nowadays, it seems like more developers are making stuff exclusively for the PC or at least releasing decent ports. So that doesn't seem likely either.

If XBOX was doing well it would be an even better reason to spin it off ... it only detracts from one of their core products (Windows). XBOX opened the door for Valve because they took their eye off the ball, it nearly caused the death of DirectX as a dominant force before they regained some measure of sanity and has crippled Windows Media Center.

It's the same with Surface/Windows RT (Pro is fine though) which served to pretty much ruin the Windows 8 launch (and like XBOX provided massive losses on it's own).

This shows how hard it can be to turn around a negative news cycle. A guy gives an interview about how he thinks the Xbox has a much more important role in Microsoft than some people are giving it credit for (which was what his 'we need to have a gaming strategy' was about) and it gets turned into headlines implying he wants to get rid of the system.

Kudos to Andy Chalk for pointing this out, less kudos for running with the sensationalist headline anyway

SKBPinkie:
Literally all of the news I've heard about the XBox has been terrible, starting E3 2013. What the hell is going on with MS?

It's actually good news, placed behind a click-bait title. Should read the article more thoroughly.

BrotherRool:
A guy gives an interview about how he thinks the Xbox has a much more important role in Microsoft than some people are giving it credit for (which was what his 'we need to have a gaming strategy' was about)

Regardless of what Gates meant when he said he'd support spinning it off, fact remains Gates mentioned PC gaming with the XBOX in one breath.

It was only Shaw's (and yours) spin which tried to turn that into the XBOX being the key, which is twisting Gates's words.

"The power of the PC graphics chips means you can do great games there. So I'm sure Satya and the team will look at that, and it's up to them, but we're going to have an overall gaming strategy, so it's not as obvious as you might think."

I actually find this more interesting than the possibility of selling the xbox division (which I don't think is going to happen at this point). Maybe it means Microsoft will try to do to Windows what Valve is trying to do with SteamOS

Pinky's Brain:
It's the same with Surface/Windows RT (Pro is fine though) which served to pretty much ruin the Windows 8 launch (and like XBOX provided massive losses on it's own).

I can't think of anything more borked than the creation Windows RT

"Hey Balmer, seeing as we already have Windows Phone to run on mobile processors, wouldn't it make sense to build a tablet version off of it so we can create an ecosystem of cross compatible apps like iOS and Android?"

"No. Instead lets just make it look exactly like Windows 8 and not make any apps compatible and then we can release a touch centered, mobile version of Office to Apple users first just to solidify how worthless our products are"

Or, ya know, you could cultivate this high potential market instead of trying to rape your consumers and act like you're doing them a favor. Just a thought...

Isn't Gates actively divesting from MS anyway?

MCerberus:
Isn't Gates actively divesting from MS anyway?

not sure what you mean? they sold bill gates? what?
Gates is no longer leading MS for years, however he still holds advisory position. MS can ask his advice and discuss with him when they want to, but they dont have to. Apperently this new CEO does it more as per article.

Bill, just keep being a billionaire philanthropist. It suits you way better than a corporate anything.

Pinky's Brain:

BrotherRool:
A guy gives an interview about how he thinks the Xbox has a much more important role in Microsoft than some people are giving it credit for (which was what his 'we need to have a gaming strategy' was about)

Regardless of what Gates meant when he said he'd support spinning it off, fact remains Gates mentioned PC gaming with the XBOX in one breath.

It was only Shaw's (and yours) spin which tried to turn that into the XBOX being the key, which is twisting Gates's words.

This is the question Bill was asked:

What about Xbox, it's such a different kind of business, why not just separate that out?

And this is how he responded

Well we're taking PC gaming, Windows gaming and Xbox gaming and bringing those a lot closer together

He was explaining why the Xbox wasn't such a different part of the business and was linked to their long term business plan. It's around 27 minutes if you want to watch the actual interview.

There is no way you could interpret that interview except as Bill Gates saying 'Splitting off Xbox is not as obvious as you think' which is almost exactly what he said word for word.

The point is, if Xbox is part of their PC strategy then they can't sell the brand off. If you're making your Windows 8 apps and development software cross-compatible with your Xbox One software, that's no good to you if the Xbox brand is owned by Samsung. Heck since they are trying to make the software the same across all platforms, selling off the Xbox would involve giving a lot of their code directly to their competitors.

I will let you judge who was spinning, but I feel confident if you watch the interview you'll realise you have to really want the Xbox to fail to read it the way a lot of people in this thread have been reading it. The article that summarised the interview originally, summarised it as:

But Gates said he didn't foresee either Bing, the company's search engine division, or Xbox, its gaming division, as potential stand-alone companies because they are part of Microsoft's long-term strategy.

SKBPinkie:
Literally all of the news I've heard about the XBox has been terrible, starting E3 2013. What the hell is going on with MS?

Trishbot:
It truly is amazing how, after last year's E3, I went from ONLY owning an Xbox 360 to not even considering it this generation unless they do something absolutely incredible, but it's totally off my radar now.

Sarge034:
Or, ya know, you could cultivate this high potential market instead of trying to rape your consumers and act like you're doing them a favor. Just a thought...

... And over here, we see the usual Escapist bashing of the Xbox One. Notice how quickly they swarm on their prey, even when it's long since died.

Arnoxthe1:

SKBPinkie:
Literally all of the news I've heard about the XBox has been terrible, starting E3 2013. What the hell is going on with MS?

Trishbot:
It truly is amazing how, after last year's E3, I went from ONLY owning an Xbox 360 to not even considering it this generation unless they do something absolutely incredible, but it's totally off my radar now.

Sarge034:
Or, ya know, you could cultivate this high potential market instead of trying to rape your consumers and act like you're doing them a favor. Just a thought...

... And over here, we see the usual Escapist bashing of the Xbox One. Notice how quickly they swarm on their prey, even when it's long since died.

And yet I still daily love and play my Xbox 360, just renewed my Xbox Live subscription, and am a vocal defender of the Games for Gold program they have.

To paraphrase the great Jim Sterling, I criticize because I care. I "bash" the Xbox One because I want them to legitimate improve the thing, and to their credit they have stepped away from some of their worst ideas.

It's still too expensive, the Kinect 2.0 is still a joke with no software to justify its existence, the library is pretty bone-dry for the rest of the year (unless E3 has some really sudden surprises), and MS's own business tactics have stifled nearly every exclusive franchise they've got, either losing them entirely or launching them to diminished sales and fan support.

Give me an Xbox One with the value of the original Xbox 360, with great games and diversity and strong consumer support and respect, and watch me quickly change my tune.

There's a reason - actually many reasons - the Xbox One, prior to its reveal, was going to be a day-one must-own and is instead now tailing behind the Wii U on my radar.

*sigh* Bill was just saying that he'd support the new CEO's decision, even if it were that. Bill was not making an objective evaluation of the Xbox department itself and whether or not he personally would have it spun off.

Putting things into context can be hard, I guess. But look at me, a PS4 owner who can read and understand the context of the situation even though it benefits Microsoft to see it that way. "Would you support the CEO's decision to do X," is not the same as "Would you do X if you were in charge".

Now, I do not trust Microsoft with the future of my gaming library. I think Sony has turned the corner to find a much more reliable position in the market and I don't want a future where my entire library is at the mercy of the same company that already killed their computer gaming library and who hasn't turned a profit on their consoles yet. But that doesn't make the words coming out of Bill's mouth suddenly magic into what I want to hear to justify a purchase.

Strazdas:

MCerberus:
Isn't Gates actively divesting from MS anyway?

not sure what you mean? they sold bill gates? what?
Gates is no longer leading MS for years, however he still holds advisory position. MS can ask his advice and discuss with him when they want to, but they dont have to. Apperently this new CEO does it more as per article.

Divesting = selling off stock, slowly cutting ties with the company

MCerberus:

Strazdas:

MCerberus:
Isn't Gates actively divesting from MS anyway?

not sure what you mean? they sold bill gates? what?
Gates is no longer leading MS for years, however he still holds advisory position. MS can ask his advice and discuss with him when they want to, but they dont have to. Apperently this new CEO does it more as per article.

Divesting = selling off stock, slowly cutting ties with the company

Ah, my language skills have failed me then. I am not aware of any active divesting then. he just sort of been on the sidelines doing his own charity stuff and left MS to do what they want to do other than when they wanted his advise.

Arnoxthe1:

Sarge034:
Or, ya know, you could cultivate this high potential market instead of trying to rape your consumers and act like you're doing them a favor. Just a thought...

... And over here, we see the usual Escapist bashing of the Xbox One. Notice how quickly they swarm on their prey, even when it's long since died.

Forgive but never forget. Anyway, I wasn't even bashing the Xbone. I was saying that the only reason the Xbox division is doing poor enough to warrant a discussion about selling it is because they don't cultivate their investment. Much like good games being declared failures because the publishers blew so much cash on marketing.

Now to be snarky... First, I would bitch about the Xbone on any venue, not just the Escapist, because the anti-consumer practices need to be remembered and shunned. Second, the Xbone still has a god awful downgrade of the 360 UI, mandatory Kinect purchase, no backwards compatibility, and an abysmally small library. Third, why are you being a MS apologist?

 

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