Microsoft CEO defends Xbox in final shareholder address

Outgoing executive Steve Ballmer says Xbox and Bing businesses are key to the company's broader vision.

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In his last shareholder address as Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer took time to defend Xbox and Bing as essential components of the company's broader vision after some have suggested it would be wise for Microsoft sell off these businesses to become more profitable.

Speaking about the Xbox One, as reported by Geek Wire and Seeking Alpha, Ballmer said the console's integration of Bing and SkyDrive are examples of Microsoft executing on its plan to unify the company's devices and services.

"No other company could have delivered what we are delivering with Xbox One," Ballmer said. The console is a "reflection of what is possible when a company, our company, is unified under a common vision," he added.

Ballmer announced his resignation in August, saying at the time that he would step down within the next 12 months, but not before a successor was named. Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, reportedly a front-runner to become new Microsoft CEO, may consider selling off the Xbox business and killing Bing entirely if he gets the job, according to a Bloomberg report this month. Elop joined Microsoft in September when Microsoft purchased Nokia's handset business for $7.2 billion.

What's more, Microsoft cofounder Steve Allen's investment group Vulcan Capital said earlier this month that the next Microsoft CEO would be smart to sell of the Xbox business because it is "detracting" from Microsoft's core competencies.

The Xbox One will be released this Friday, November 22.

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