Xbox Is "Fundamentally Important" to Microsoft, CFO Says

Amy Hood talks about the business group's "journey of improvement" over the past few years.

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There were once rumors that Microsoft was planning to spin off its Xbox division, but that's in the past. Microsoft CFO Amy Hood emphatically stressed today at the UBS Global Technology Conference that gaming is financially relevant and "fundamentally important" to Microsoft in the future.

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"Xbox is financially relevant to Microsoft," she said. "People should not be confused about the journey of improvement we have been on in the past two years in the Xbox business."

For Microsoft's latest quarter, the Xbox division was a bright spot. Total revenue rose year-over-year, while Xbox Live also showed favorable performance.

Hood went on to say she is particularly proud of Microsoft's efforts for Windows 10 specifically. This includes the Xbox One, which is technically a Windows 10 device now that it has adopted Windows 10 as its underlying operating system with the New Xbox one Experience update.

"I think about the importance of gaming. I would actually literally, very specifically talk about the importance of gaming to us; you've seen the investments we've made; you've seen us talk about gaming and its importance across all form factors for us, be it the PC, be it a phone, be it the console itself," she said. "I think we've done a very good job of taking something that sort of sat outside the Windows ecosystem and made it part of the Windows ecosystem. So that gaming value accrues back to the ecosystem and to the developers who work there.

"I would say gaming is fundamentally important. The Xbox brand is still an incredibly powerful brand; gaming PCs are amongst the most lucrative businesses to be in," she added. "Gaming as a category is quite profitable and I feel good about how we've changed the landscape of what that looks like as a company."

It may come as little surprise given that Microsoft paid $2.5 billion to buy Minecraft, but Hood added that gaming is a particularly "interesting" opportunity for Microsoft because it "attracts young people to the [Windows] ecosystem."

Hood wasn't the only executive to talk about gaming this week at the UBS conference. Electronic Arts CFO Blake Jorgensen also gave a presentation and answered questions. Click the links below for more.

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