Microsoft CEO candidate may consider selling Xbox, killing Bing - Report

If Stephen Elop gets the job to replace Steve Ballmer, he may sell or close businesses that are not critical to company's performance, report says.

If it is former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop who replaces Steve Ballmer as Microsoft CEO, he may consider selling the Xbox business and killing Google competitor Bing, according to a new report from business publication Bloomberg.

People familiar with the matter told the site that Elop, should he get the job, would be ready to sell or close major Microsoft business units if he determines they are not critical to the company's strategic outlook.

Elop joined Microsoft when the company purchased the handset maker's mobile business for $7.2 billion in September. He is on the shortlist of potential successors to replace Ballmer, according to reports.

Microsoft shares reached their highest price since the early 2000s earlier this week, after Nomura Holdings analyst Rick Sherlund said selling Bing and Xbox could boost earnings by 40 percent in fiscal 2015.

"Microsoft is trying to do too much, and these assets add no clear value to the overall business," Sherlund said. He also said that Ford CEO Alan Mulally, reportedly the frontrunner to replace Ballmer, is the most likely candidate for the job.

No potential buyers for the Xbox business were named in the Bloomberg report. Microsoft's Xbox unit has been healthy of late, posting positive figures for the latest quarter. The Xbox One launches two weeks from today on November 22.

In August, Ballmer said he would retire within the space of 12 months, but not before his successor was named. Reuters said this week that the process could take a "few more months," though a past report indicated Microsoft plans to complete the process before the end of the year.

The Bloomberg report also claims that if Elop becomes Microsoft CEO, he would break from years of tradition and focus Microsoft's efforts on bringing Office software like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to a variety of smartphones and tablets, including devices made by Apple and Google.

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Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
662 comments
Twilord
Twilord

Microsoft give the Xbox Division to Sega for a decent price and retain 49% ownership; Nintendo buy the Playstation division in response (giving Sony a happy ending to their existance). Nintendo and Sega then combine to fight Valve, transcending the status of corperation and becoming a person, known as Allah "Buddah" Hosanna and leading us into a new golden age of peace, love, and sexual liberation - Party over here!

Algearond
Algearond

This guy is clearly the world's smartest man

gsmooth666
gsmooth666

The Xbox brand and its division nobody can afford it cause its just worth to much money. If Elop gets the job then MS would lose a lot, look what he did to Nokia. If the Xbox One is success then MS should buy out Nintendo and Sega and buy the rights to Capcom cause they are struggling. The purchase of these gaming systems would hurt the PS

Csdabest89
Csdabest89

This story holds no wait.  He can consider all he wants. But Xbox makes too much money to sell and the only ones that have enough money to buy it would probably be Disney, Apple, and Google. And I doubt they are in the market. Microsoft HAS WAY TOO MUCH MONEY invested in the gaming industry now I Even if they just recently posted a 2 billion dollar lost. Sony posted 10 million. I doubt Xbox really posted a loss and if they did. That will be wiped clean by next year seeing as how live alone brings in like what 10 billion a year alone. Sony doesnt have that weight withPS3 and now have to try and cut that cost with PS4. The amount of backlash Microsoft would receive would be on another level. The DRM policy even at it worst imagined state would compare to the backlash. It would literally damage both their profit income, company image and reputation. Xbox isnt going anywhere. You wouldnnt just have to buy the xbox license, Youd have to buy the exclusives, severs, take over their contracts with multiple other companies, and take over their infrastructure, their tablet connectivity. There is more to xbox than just the console. Its rooted in too many things.

glitch256
glitch256

So now with this negative news...is the xbox one a gamble? This is crazy news prior to a system launch. This news is going all the way to Forbes. New ceo. Don Mattrick leaves. What is going on at Microsoft right now!!!???!!

theKSMM
theKSMM

I'm not sure I'm buying that.  Microsoft's leverage in so many markets is part of what has kept them afloat for so long.  If they become a two-product company, it becomes way too easy for competitors to concentrate their firepower on those two areas and take them out.

Besides, they wouldn't just close the (now profitable) entertainment division.  And there's nobody out there big enough to just buy it from them.  So I'm taking this as pure speculation for now.

mathg04
mathg04

I guess google would have finally their more or less successful game console than...

Mark Haywood
Mark Haywood

It's complete nonsense. Like they are just going to give Sony billions, by dropping out of the console market. Thats why they made the xbox, because they saw how huge the market was. Take it with a grain of salt.

Kelly Locke
Kelly Locke

Xbox Live was a massive step forward for online console gaming. Looking back at what the PS2 offered, you can see how much PSN was inspired by XBL. XBL Arcade was also a big deal. The Xbox brought online gaming and infrastructure to consoles and pioneered a marketplace system that both Nintendo and Sony would go on to imitate. Would those things have been done had the Xbox not existed? Probably. Did the Xbox help by being a pioneer in these fields? I think the answer is obvious. I think each competitor makes their own product better in response to competing products, and that's a win for consumers every time.

Colin Frazier
Colin Frazier

I guess they've brought competition so that Sony lowers their prices, but they haven't really brought much else that isn't done by other companies.

force_user1975
force_user1975

I'm glad Microsoft already responded to these rumors. 

"We appreciate Bloomberg's foray into fiction and look forward to future episodes." Microsoft's response to selling Xbox division.

It wouldn't make sense because Microsoft and the Xbox brand are now synonymous. We also have to keep in mind that Ballmer and Gates are still on the board and have final say who the new CEO will be. Both are also huge Xbox supporters. 


Frederick Quatman
Frederick Quatman

"We appreciate Bloomberg's foray into fiction and look forward to future episodes." Microsoft's response to selling Xbox division.

Jared Beasley
Jared Beasley

If xbox just happens to drop out I would get a pc cuz sony just isnt that great in my opinion

Jared Beasley
Jared Beasley

That would be cool with me and yes fable. Fable is a great game lil easy but great non the less

flashn00b
flashn00b

If the Xbox brand is to be sold, we're more likely to see the intellectual properties to go to different companies similar to the THQ auction.

Reza Armstrong
Reza Armstrong

Let's hope he doesn't get the job, He's basically saying if I become boss I'm going to make a lot of people lose their jobs. Well screw him.

Tyler Dnap VanNeste
Tyler Dnap VanNeste

thats why there to stupid to realize that Microsoft owns windows, which happens to be the number one platform for PC gaming. Ya they may lose xbox gamers, but those gamers might go to PC and see what there missing, all in all either way sony may have beat the console, but they will never beat the RIG

Katie Lazzelle-Baily
Katie Lazzelle-Baily

Everyone shouts doom and gloom over Nintendo yet it really seems like MS wants to drop the Xbox just because it's not making them money.

mikejustesen
mikejustesen

Xbox won't go anywhere. First off, many of you Sony fanboys are really pathetic. You should know that Sony is bleeding, and they're having big economic problems - they ended up selling a HQ, just to raise funds. There's a bigger chance they will pull out, with Nintendo from the console market, than Xbox. Second, no one can afford to buy the Xbox brand, and Microsoft wouldn't sell it off to Apple, and Apple wouldn't buy. Third, Microsoft already denied this, and the Xbox will be here for a long time. Come on people, try to be less childish.

Jeremy Kalman
Jeremy Kalman

Halo sucks. Sony would not want anything to do with that garbage. Destiny will be better

Jeremy Kalman
Jeremy Kalman

Going up and up and up? They have been declining since they basically stopped supporting the 360.

Jared Beasley
Jared Beasley

Yes but look at the xbox 360 58 billion dollars in 7 years u do the math. I dont see either going away anytime soon.

Juho Pekka Olavi Martti
Juho Pekka Olavi Martti

Wow... as a kind-of MS un-lover (I don't exactly hate it though), some part of me wants to just sit back and watch him do to MS what he did to Nokia...

Anthony Baggies Brockhurst
Anthony Baggies Brockhurst

360 was perfect? I recall my 360 dying after a year and so did my 2nd 360 by the time they sorted the over heating problem i was already enjoying my 2nd hand Ps3 which lasted a good few years. But yeah both systems became great hence why i'm waiting till this time next year before i decide which next gen to get then most of the problems they might have will be sorted, more games using the full power of next gen will be out and i'll have more info about both systems.

Trevor Merrill
Trevor Merrill

so gamers are ponies now? That's interesting imagery

Neil Radtke
Neil Radtke

If Stephen Elop gets the job as Microsoft's CEO he will be fired in 5 seconds flat before he can even put his feet up

Steven Simmons
Steven Simmons

So I guess that means Microsoft isn't going to have tablets anymore

Luka Žen Pirtušek
Luka Žen Pirtušek

Well it's kinda true microsoft are greedy and they buy alot! But personally I loved the exclusives... But purchasing Nokia? I mean WP is never going to be as big as iOS or Android! The marketplace is smaller etc. And making that guy CEO, would kill the game industry and one would prevail, however if Xbox is sold... And would be purchased by a great powerfull company it could be something bigger... I'd personally love to see Apple buy it ( I know it is not possible) just to see what they would do x)

Justin Roane
Justin Roane

They need to focus on software like its 1999.

Reece Lewandowski
Reece Lewandowski

There is no way in hell Microsoft are going to support Xbox after life cycle of Xbox One, would find it very hard to believe otherwise and that is potientially awesome for a few things: 1) they will no longer be a threat to the gaming industy. 2) Most importantly Rare would be free! Microsoft have utterly destroyed Rare and that is one of the most pure disgraceful things in gaming history.

David Belmonte
David Belmonte

Yep m$ has to make sure their stock holders make as much as they possibly can, regardless of who it affects.

Alex Lopez
Alex Lopez

This all sounds like corporate positioning. If in fact Elop is a front runner, he has to impress the board - how? I am willing to kill non core assets. I have seen these many times over. Once (if) he gets the seat he will then reevaluate and keep the Xbox unit. In my household the only MSFT product I consume is the Xbox, I doubt I am the only one that falls in this category.

19James89
19James89

@force_user1975 Ballmer and Gates may find themselves in the minority on the board though. There's an increasing number of MS shareholders who want to get out of the games industry altogether and if the Xbox One flops then I think it will become a real possibility.

mikejustesen
mikejustesen

@Anthony Baggies Brockhurst And all my Xboxes, the one from 2006, one from 2008, one from 2010 and one from 2011 is all working fine. So is my friends. Maybe you should take more care!

kbaily
kbaily

@Carlos Maki Medina Supposedly the Xbox was losing MS money since the original.  Namely due to it not selling outside the US and with the 360, all the money that was lost on having to repair and replace all the Red Ring systems.

Praeceps86UK
Praeceps86UK

@mikejustesen Well mike you've just been lucky with the first 2 consoles.

RRoD wasn't caused by carelessness, it was caused by MS bring out a design flawed console. MS have more or less admitted this by extending the warranty to 3 years for those who have experienced these problems.

Also I don't believe that you haven't known anyone that have encountered problems on Xbox 360s.

If not then you don't have many friends that have the console. I can see why from your charming personality.(sarcasm)