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Microsoft could sell off Xbox brand under Elop

In-case you haven’t heard, Steve Ballmer, long standing fan of developers and Microsoft CEO, will be stepping down at some point in the next year, which means Microsoft is on the hunt for a replacement. One man being considered is current Nokia head, Stephen Elop, who -it’s suggested – might even consider selling off the entire Xbox portion of Microsoft’s business.

This is all really vague speculation at the moment, so don’t fret too much. The words about Microsoft division sales of any kind come from “three people with knowledge of his thinking,” over at Bloomberg, so take these rumours with a tablespoon of salt. With that out of the way though, let’s look at all the other crazy things Elop would potentially do if he was given the nod as CEO.

It’s all to do with focus, apparently. Instead of diversifying out into different portions of the tech industry, Elop would not only sell off the Xbox brand, but it’s also speculated that he’d kill off the Bing search engine too, something that Microsoft has invested billions in and heavily entrenched into its Windows operating system.

“What do I do for fun? Burn money.”

Without all these side businesses though, what would Microsoft focus on? Apparently, Elop would love to promote Microsoft Office as its defining product, despite the growth of many free alternatives like Open Office. Elop previously brokered the deal to bring cut back versions of Office to Nokia’s Symbian OS equipped devices and he’d like to see more moves like that, adding these work related applications to handsets from both Apple and Android manufacturers.

Elop has been CEO at Nokia for a few years now and was the one behind that “burning platform,” memo that leaked out back in 2010, suggesting that Nokia had but a short time to turn its fortunes around or it would be buried by the competition. He also oversaw the recent acquisition by Microsoft of the long time phone manufacturer.

If you’re worried that these rumours might come true, don’t cry yet, as Elop isn’t alone in his race for Microsoft CEO. Ford’s chief executive officer, Alan Mulally (great name) is also being courted for the position, along with three current Microsoft employees: Tony Bates, Satya Nadella and Kevin Turner.

KitGuru Says: This seems like a lot of hear-say to me, but we’ve got to bring it up, it’s just too juicy a rumour. Selling off Xbox? Who would buy it? I’m rooting for Sega. 

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  • Darrell

    Say what?
    I know he’s trying for CEO and all, but at least take up all of the reigns for a bit before killing off the reindeer with the bad legs.

    Incoming mini-rant.

    No, Bing didn’t get a good start but I have to admit it’s a decent search engine in it’s own right and let’s face it with it’s competition, it was never truly going to do as well as Microsoft hoped. With all that’s been going on with Google recently, I’ve found myself using Bing a little more, I’m actually enjoying getting search results that are not forum sites with posters telling other people to “Google it”.

    I can understand the Xbox and how it’s been going all downhill recently, but I still believe the “console generation is dead” is a lie. It’s much too soon to call the mobile market ready to take over consoles, but given a few years time if/when mobile technology gets there, I think it would be decent. It’s just not ready as of yet, still no reason to kill an entire section of a business, maybe the Xbox just needs a re-think.

    Then deciding to focus on Office, which as you’ve stated has it’s rivals Open Office, Google Docs etc. I just… *sigh*. Office may lead the bunch right now, but in all honesty in what way does he intend to improve Office’s feature set? Or how does he intend to advertise it to make it sell more copies? It’s been the same software with some aesthetic tweaks over the years, the premise of it is still pretty simple. You type letters or numbers into a pre-determined spot and change the way it looks. I’d rather use Notepad and a Calculator than most of the Office suite.