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Microsoft Founder Bill Gates was insulted by the Xbox pitch

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Bill Gates wasn't impressed with the Xbox

Xbox has become a massive brand within gaming and entertainment, and it’s been a rather successful one that Microsoft has used to directly take on Sony. It didn’t, however, start out with rainbows a butterflies (most good ideas never do), and Microsoft founder Bill Gates not only hated, but felt insulted at the idea when first pitched over a decade ago.

That’s according to now ex-Microsoft employee Ed Fries, who acted as the vice-president of game publishing on a console he helped co-create: the original Xbox. He sat down with IGN recently to discuss the company’s history, which included delving into its rough beginnings.

“Bill walks in, he’s holding our deck [Powerpoint deck], throws it down the table and he says: “This is a blanking insult to everything I’ve done at this company”, basically was the quote. That was the start of the meeting.”

It didn’t end there either, as Microsoft’s next CEO, Steve Ballmer, didn’t like the idea either. The team was left arguing for hours with the two, trying to convince them that the losses the company would incur with the Xbox would eventually make it profitable. They didn’t like it, until one person in the room made a history changing remark.

“Finally, near the end one of the guys who was just kind of an observer at the meeting, raises his hand and he says: what about Sony”,

That remark alone was apparently enough to settle Gates and Ballmer, who then shortly after signed off on the Xbox. The rest, as they say, is history – but it’s a deeply fascinating story that I encourage you to listen to in full below.


Last Updated: July 1, 2016

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