Bill Gates would support spinning off Xbox

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Best spin off

Bill Gates is helping Satya Nadella transition into the role of CEO at Microsoft. I’m sure that involves knowledge transfer about core business ideals, as well as teaching about how to look aloof and still vaguely human in interviews. It seems to be mostly a supportive role, and that support extends to the possibility of spinning off Xbox.

During an interview on Fox Business Network, Gates wasn’t keen to answer the questions head on. He explained:

We’re taking PC gaming, Windows gaming, and Xbox gaming, and bringing those a lot closer together. The power of the PC graphics chips means you can do great games there. 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.

That said, when asked if he would still support Nadella if he made the decision to spin off Xbox, Gates unequivocally stated “absolutely”. So, which would be first on Microsoft’s chopping block, the beloved Xbox or the loathed Bing? It certainly isn’t Bing.

Certainly the Bing technology has been the key to us learning how to do large-scale data centers. And Bing lets us see what’s going on on the Internet so that as people are interested in various topics, we know what’s new. We know when they’re typing text, what it might mean. So I see that as a pretty fundamental technology for the company, even for its Office business, which is a very, very core business… We’re thinking about, ‘Are there pieces that are separable?’ But our basic research, including the stuff that goes into Bing, I can’t see that making sense to break it off.

I’m not sure why we keep hearing about Microsoft getting rid of Xbox. Is it likely, I doubt it. Sure, industry insiders will gossip about the possibility – with Microsoft focusing on the cloud and moving away from hardware where possible, of course the rumors will abound that Microsoft wants to ditch the gaming console. However, with plenty of cloud services using the new generation console, it seems unlikely – Microsoft is determined to have their foothold our living rooms and use it to bring us all their services and eco system.

Last Updated: May 6, 2014

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