Xbox division's new boss is the guy who reportedly wanted to sell it off

Former Nokia executive Stephen Elop to replace Julie Larson-Green as head of Devices and Studios division.

Image credit: Sarah Tew/CNET

Former Nokia executive Stephen Elop will take over control of Microsoft's Devices and Studios division--the business unit that includes Xbox and Surface--Microsoft confirmed to GameSpot sister site CNET after an internal memo leaked to GeekWire yesterday.

Interestingly, and perhaps ironically, a Bloomberg report from November said Elop would consider selling off the Xbox unit if he was named the next Microsoft CEO. He was not, as that position was filled last month by Satya Nadella, who is a "good supporter" of Xbox.

The report stated that if Elop got the job as CEO, he would be ready to sell or close major Microsoft business units--including Xbox--if he determined they are not critical to the company's strategic outlook. It's unclear if Elop--when he becomes the new Xbox division boss--would have the power to complete such a deal.

Microsoft has been urged by some high-profile investors to sell off the Xbox business unit. These investors, including Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen's investment group Vulcan Capital, say that though Xbox has been successful, it's also detracting from Microsoft's core competencies.

Elop will replace outgoing Devices and Studios leader Julie Larson-Green, who moved into the role--replacing Don Mattrick who left for Zynga--just seven months ago. Larson-Green will transition to a new role at Microsoft where she will lead the "My Life & Work" team at the company's Applications and Services group.

"I want to thank each and every one of you for welcoming me and supporting me as the leader of Devices & Studios over the past 7 months. I'm very proud of what we have accomplished during such a short timeframe," Larson-Green said. "We launched Xbox One, Surface 2 & Pro 2, blockbuster games like Forza and Ryse, a brand new Xbox Music and Video service, PPI, and some amazing unannounced innovations just to name a few…"

"You are all in great hands with Stephen and already we've shared a lot with him and his LT from Nokia regarding all of the fantastic people, teams and products in DnS," she added. "I also know many of you are looking forward to welcoming the Nokia team and working more closely with them."

Elop joined Microsoft when the company purchased the handset maker's mobile business for $7.2 billion in September. Larson-Green will remain leader of the Devices and Studios division in the interim until the Nokia deal officially closes.

Yesterday, Microsoft announced the first official price cut for the Xbox One, cutting the price from £430 to £400 in the United Kingdom only effective on Friday. The company also revealed a special $500 Titanfall bundle that includes a copy of the game.

Written By

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

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Discussion

149 comments
kovaras1984
kovaras1984

i think we need him at sony, we have lots to sell atm. maybe he could have got us a better price for are tokyo HQ than about weeks worth of losses

ecko_77
ecko_77

Talk about a corporate favor.....don't know where to stick the guy so put him in charge of the Xbox division?! The guy who has openly talked about selling the division off because he doesn't see the Xbox as an integral part of Microsoft's future? Are you kidding me?...I am going to feel so much better buying a PS4 knowing its in good hands with a company that cares about the future of it.

sakaixx
sakaixx

DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

steinsgates
steinsgates

sell it to apple.

but before you appletards rejoice, anti-trust suits awaits.

Daemoroth
Daemoroth

How exactly does someone with HIS history manage to land any kind of management job? I wouldn't hire him to run my bath...

iloveyourface
iloveyourface

welp, original xbox redefined gaming. 360 was pretty solid without the rrod. this news right here is xbox bottoming out.

hadlee73
hadlee73

Looking at Mr Elop's history (*very* abridged version, though):

CIO of Boston Chicken - sold to McDonalds 6 years later.

Web/IT and CEO of Macromedia - Aquired by Adobe 3 months after he became CEO.

COO Juniper Networks for a year - nothing sold off! Woooo

Head of Business Microsoft for a couple of years - again, nothing sold off.

CEO Nokia - issued the infamous "burning platform" memo, changed Nokia's strategy in order to use Microsoft-based phone OS, drove Nokia's finances into the ground, and then negotiated sale of Nokia mobile to Microsoft. Elop then received an 18 million Euro bonus from Microsoft after his contract was negotiated immediately afterwards.


Not sure what everyone is worried about. Seems trustworthy to me! :P



Pyrosa
Pyrosa

Aww, man...  Just when they were starting to get things moving in the right direction, they promote a has-been to a top post (again).  They should have hired from a pool of newer talent for this title.

nuke1984
nuke1984

3 heads of devices in Microsoft in a year.  Sounds like an internal problem in deciding leadership.

crashmer
crashmer

They should get J. Allard back. 

Master_Turismo
Master_Turismo

Now we all thought that the DRM fiasco was something. This is worse by far. Not a very a bright move.

L_ninyo07
L_ninyo07

Lets see how many f**ks he REALLY gives about Xbox! If the Xbox division starts to nose dive, we all know why. 1st we get Don Mattrick, now we get this guy who wanted to sell the Xbox division.

dmdavenport
dmdavenport

Sony has issues, too. They fired their CEO about a year ago and have lost billions the last few quarters. They just announced they are shutting down their personal computer division, and outsourcing TV manufacturing. The jury is still out on whether the are making money on the PS4.  Both companies are under pressure, but MS has a huge pile of money stashed away and a very profitable software division. I wouldn't pay too much attention to Eddie's gossip-mongering. 

nyran125tk
nyran125tk

I wouldnt give a sht, it would mean better PC gaming most likely if they got rid of Xbox. Even though its already amazing and perhaps more PC exclusives again. Even though theres already tons. Be nice to see some more PC exclusive games that really make use of the hardware.


If there was no Xbox's that would mean titanfall might be a PC exclusive, completely dedicated to PC. That would be awesome for me , considering im a PC gamer. Be like going back to Quake and Unreal days. PC exclusive shooters again.

Kjranu
Kjranu

Gotta love cronyism in the business world. Re-hiring failed execs... 

dmdavenport
dmdavenport

Damn it Makuch, if you are going quote the Bloomberg snippet, at least point out that it was not attributed to ANY SOURCE. Get it? That means he never said it. By repeating the gossip you only reinforce the impression that you are nothing but a hack. Give it a rest, please.

mlp071
mlp071

Well , he did great for Nokia , got them sold to MS, his former and current employee...should i say he gets rewarded for internal job on takeover.

juboner
juboner

Doesnt look like every ones on the same page at Microsoft. This turns me off from xbone even further.

kidkadaj
kidkadaj

Dude looks like an asshole.

bunchanumbers
bunchanumbers

They already said that the deal to sell Xbox to Amazon would take a few years, so I expect it to be sold by then. Sad but the Xbox does need major financial support if its going to survive. 

flyincloud1116
flyincloud1116

I posted stuff about this last night, but xbots got offended.   The corporate will for the xbox unit is waning for some within the company and for some major investors.  

Xx_DemonSoul_xX
Xx_DemonSoul_xX

Makes sense. Hire the guy who doesn't like you to begin with and wants to dump you. This is why it is so hard to respect MicroTurd anymore. They keep making bad decisions upon bad decisions.

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

The Xbox division will not be sold off. The Xbox one has just launched. Maybe if after 2-3 years of really bad results then maybe Xbox brand would be in danger. For now it is fine.

cboye18
cboye18

M$ is seriously confused; I wouldn't continue with the gaming industry with that much confusion.

Shango4
Shango4

He could sell it to SEGA.

Samparksh
Samparksh

After reading about everything that is happening at Microsoft nowdays,why do I have the suspicion that they don't have the slightest bit of idea about what they are doing?

archav3n
archav3n

To all XB fans.. don't fret. You know M$ is known for doing a U-Turn? They could refocus FULL FORCE on a losing business XBox division? Who knows?

kane6911
kane6911

Its not going anywhere people keep dreaming people. however you haven't gave them enough time to iron out the wrinkles yet the box is only a few months old people. It was never Microsoft intentions to make a pure gaming machine anyway they said that from original xbox all thing take time this is no exception. 

Nminator_236
Nminator_236

@ecko_77  This stupid ass story is like a fucking Jesus, it keep resurrecting every few days.


People, Elop NEVER said that he would sell off the Xbox division, it was a YEAR a go when a "source" for Bloomberg said that he thinks that Elop "thinks" about selling the Xbox division.

Translation? Those words never even came out of Elops mouth!

amk11
amk11

@Daemoroth  Would sell your bath, and make an excuse as to why you dont need it :P

TimberWolf_CLT
TimberWolf_CLT

@Daemoroth My thoughts exactly.  Maybe he has pictures of  board members practicing "animal husbandry" with sheep or something...

DoctorCinnamon
DoctorCinnamon

@iloveyourface  in what possible way did the original xbox redefine gaming? hell, you could argue it was the worst console of that generation.

wallacom
wallacom

@hadlee73  I just hope the new CEO of Microsoft is a good supporter of XBOX as he say he is, and he wont let him sell it.

steinsgates
steinsgates

@billlabowski  

if x86 don't go mobile, Our PCs will be getting expensive, I would like to see a PC- windows x86 as large as a smartphone.

Daemoroth
Daemoroth

@L_ninyo07  Sounds like a solid idea. Let's hire the guy to run the division he desperately wants to sell off...

junoh315
junoh315

@dmdavenport  Sony's PC and TV manufacturing doesn't affect the gaming industry much.  This, however, affects it quite a bit.  This is a gaming website.

If you put two and two together, you can see which is more important.

JerkDaNerd_
JerkDaNerd_

@dmdavenport  Exactly, funny how NONE of that is a big deal yet here we are talking about a $250 billion dollar company in market value selling off a profitable and further profitable division. All the while Sony is currently going through a corporate spin-off?! 


Those few investors hold nothing against the major holders who are sticking to the Xbox Division, otherwise they WOULDN'T be further spending money on it. What a shame that this is even being talked about. 


Anyways, I disagree the choice with Elop. I'm sure there are more competent managers who are more in line with the devices and studios division. IMO seems like a compensation for the deal being made with Nokia, instead of just firing him. 

wm3sv
wm3sv

@mlp071  But look the good side, maybe those xbots can get something better next time. Who knows, maybe this guy is not as lier as the other guy

ggregd
ggregd

@sixtronic  Wow.  "Click-bate" used to trigger a "meal storm of criticism."   If he says so it must be true.  On a web site dedicated to Surface.

jonjacobblack
jonjacobblack

Online console gaming, sure Dreamcast did it first, but og Xbox made it mainstream and that really paved the way for online gaming on consoles

dmdavenport
dmdavenport

@JerkDaNerd_  

Agreed, I don't like the choice of Elop either. At least he didn't get what he wanted - Ballmer's job. 

mlp071
mlp071

@wm3sv @mlp071

You mean Mattrick? 

He actually was not liar,most of the stuff that he claimed turned out to be truth in the end. X1 cannot do 1080p without game running on server for most it , so he was right about always online thing..

Reason why are we seeing lot of deficiencies in this system is because they were banking on forcing Devs to make cloud based games and MS capitalizing from it in every possible way.


Lets' be realistic X1 was originally designed as one giant DRM and microtransaction machine

XboxOneNerd
XboxOneNerd

@ggregd @sixtronic  As the author of that article, thanks for pointing out those errors. I went back and made the corrections. If you want to check the validity of my argument, though, go back and look at the original Bloomberg article. They base their whole argument on speculation.

wm3sv
wm3sv

@mlp071 @wm3sv  Yes i know it's all about the cloud and eSRAM, what i don't get is how are they planning to make you play in the cloud if there's no server capable of doing such a thing imagine 20,000 xbots trying to get a new game in the cloud let's say 30GB. It's going to take them a couple of years and when it happens their technology will be basically obsolete