Former Xbox honcho Robbie Bach says missteps by Sony cleared the way for the success of the Xbox.
There are a lot of reasons why Microsoft was able to make successful inroads into the game console market that, at the time of the release of the original Xbox, was utterly dominated by the PlayStation and PlayStation 2. But according to Robbie Bach, the former president of Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices Division, much of its success, and even more so that of its successor the Xbox 360, can be attributed to none other than Sony.
"Some of the success of Xbox was due to the fact that Sony did some really not-so-smart things. They mismanaged their 70 percent market share," he said at a Northwest Entrepreneur Network event in Seattle last week. "It's a long conversation. The transition to PlayStation 3 was really, really bad. And really hard. They mismanaged their partners, they mismanaged their cost structure. They made their next platform so complicated that developers couldn't develop for it."
One company that didn't make mistakes, he continued, is Apple, whose "remarkable" run over the past decade ultimately spelled doom for Microsoft's series of Zune media players, which also fell under Bach's responsibility. The Zune suffered from a "confused" marketing message that failed to make an impression on a broad range of music fans, he said, but it was Apple's ability to make the music industry dependent upon its platform that ultimately sealed the deal.
"I don't always agree with everything they do, but they've made remarkably few mistakes," he continued. "If you're in a startup and your competition doesn't make mistakes, the world is a hard place, and it doesn't matter how much money you have."