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Former Nokia boss Stephen Elop now in charge of Xbox
Former Nokia boss Stephen Elop now in charge of Xbox
February 25, 2014 | By Mike Rose

February 25, 2014 | By Mike Rose
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    11 comments
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing



Newsbrief: When Microsoft acquired Nokia's mobile business back in September, the company put Nokia CEO Stephen Elop into the executive vice president role at its Devices & Services division -- the portion of the company that handles Xbox, amongst other devices.

Today, Devices & Services boss Julie Larson-Green announced in an internal Microsoft memo, as reported by TechCrunch, that she will be changing roles and leaving Elop in charge of the division.

This latest shake-up comes just weeks after Microsoft named Satya Nadella as its new CEO, a man who has spearheaded strategy and technical shifts at Microsoft, including the company's development of its grand-scale cloud infrastructure, which currently supports the Xbox services.


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Comments


John Paduch
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O.....k? Maybe I'm missing something, but this seems like an odd choice. A guy who ran a failing mobile phone company to run Xbox? There were lots of raised eyebrows at MS's acquisition of Nokia to begin with, given that MS was failing on the mobile software front and Nokia on the hardware front, so I'm wondering why Xbox is even included in this general "Devices and services" division along with their failing phones.

Ryan Christensen
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When he was being considered before Nadella for CEO, he wanted to shut down Xbox or sell it off. http://bit.ly/1fn5Sr3

Strange message to send.

Rob Wright
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Yeah, this is troubling for Xbox. Larson-Green was a rising star at MS, having taken over the Windows biz for Steven Sinofsky when he left in 2012 and then getting promoted again to take over the Devices & Studios group last summer. With her in charge of that group, it seemed like the Xbox/gaming business was in good hands. But to rotate her out after just 7 months and put Elop (he of the "burning platform" memo) into the role after the reports about him looking to sell or scuttle Xbox is bad news.

Jeferson Soler
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@ Ryan Christensen - Thanks for the info, and considering what you and Rob just pointed out, this is indeed a rather strange move that just occurred. Why would anyone from Microsoft put a man that wants to bring an end to the Xbox products in charge of the Xbox division instead of someone that could help boost the sales of Xbox One?

Brent Orford
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@ Jeferson Soler

Simple. Stock price.

Xbox as a business unit is mature with limited growth potential and the market always favors growth. Selling games only for Xbox One limits your publishing arm to half/(less than half if you count Nintendo) of the available consoles capable of capturing an audience. EA doesn't have that limitation, Activision doesn't, WB doesn't... I could go on.

The biggest problem Microsoft faces as a "software" company is not being able to get their games/software on all available consoles. Spinning off the Xbox unit into its own separate entity will remove the self-imposed internal pressure Microsoft Studios faces to release Xbox exclusive titles and better aligns themselves against their competitors as a game publisher.

You've heard it time and time again... "We don't make money on the console, we make it on the games". Simply removing the restriction of exclusivity to your internally developed hardware will allow Microsoft to sell more game units.

Get rid of the hardware biz for xbox and double the potential sales for game software... yeah, this should be very well received by the market.

Michael Joseph
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Rather than sell off Xbox, it would be interesting if Microsoft chose to open up the hardware and allow box makers to clone it and sell it license free. In effect copy cat Steam. MS could still provide the networking service and even open that service up to allow competing hardware (not that they all would join). What if you could play your PS4 games on Live using a hacked PS4 running third party software?

But one thing MS would not tolerate is to sell Xbox, watch the new owners fail, and have the only Windows device in the living room disappear and be replaced wholly by SteamOS (Linux).

G Irish
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I guess this means the chances of the Xbox division getting sold has gone up dramatically. It'll be interesting to see if Microsoft makes any statements to either confirm or deny the prospect of an Xbox division sale. My guess is that if they do respond they'll hole up with a 'no comment' or 'we're committed to the success Xbox' so that they don't scare gamers off at a very fragile time in the console's lifespan.

Mark Nelson
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I assume this is a consolation for not being appointed CEO of Microsoft for his "handling" of Nokia... (and all the intrigue my quotes imply)

His appointment erodes my confidence in the platform.

Merc Hoffner
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LOL. I mean, elle oh elle. You couldn't make this stuff up.

Marc Schaerer
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As someone who somewhat favors PS3 and WiiU over the X1, I'm not sure if I should sarcastically call this good news, as it means one competitor less in the field in less than 18months

Jeferson Soler
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@ Marc Schaerer - It's too soon to know if putting Elop in charge of the Devices & Services division would really mean the end of Microsoft producing the Xbox systems, but assuming that does become the case sooner or later, it might not mean that Xbox would disappear. From my understanding, Elop might just want to sell off the Xbox system to someone else and not phase out the Xbox product altogether, so it's possible that the Xbox systems would still exist but would be done by a different company instead of Microsoft. Considering what Brent Orford said earlier, Microsoft would be able to shift most of its focus on software with the company no longer having to worry about dealing with the Xbox production and it wouldn't be a huge loss for Microsoft if the company decides to let another company produce the Xbox systems as Microsoft would still make money by selling software for other devices (especially the Windows operating systems for the PCs). It will be very interesting to see what will happen next, but for now and as I said earlier, it is too soon to know if Elop's appointment would mean the end of Microsoft producing the Xbox systems. Nevertheless, Elop's appointment may raise concern among people that are aware of Elop's past comment(s).


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