According to an internal memo from Microsoft, Stephen Elop, former CEO of Nokia, will replace Julie Larson-Green as the head of Microsoft’s Devices and Studios department. This would place the 50 year-old executive in charge of the Xbox, Microsoft Surface and Microsoft’s game development efforts, the Verge reported.
Retired Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was allegedly forced in November to defend the Xbox as a profitable venture for the corporation.
During Ballmer’s last shareholder address as CEO, he called the Xbox brand a “reflection of what is possible when a company, our company, is united under a common vision.” Elop, who was a possible replacement for Ballmer, was rumored to believe that the gaming brand should be cut loose.
Although the Xbox 360 and Xbox One continue to sell, it was reported Elop viewed the brand as unprofitable. Bloomberg’s inside sources reported that Elop “would also consider selling healthy businesses such as the Xbox game console if he determined they weren’t critical to the company’s strategy.” Market analysts reported that some of Microsoft’s entertainment divisions are losing billions. Still, eliminating the gaming category entirely may not be the best long-term solution. The Xbox One boasts more than 740 million hours played since its launch in 13 countries on Nov. 22. More than 2.27 million Xbox One and Xbox 360 games were also sold in January this year.
“We are incredibly humbled and proud to see Xbox One continue to be the best launch of an Xbox in our history,” said Corporate Vice President of Marketing and Strategy Yusuf Mehdi. The Xbox One is currently selling 2.29 times faster within a three-month period than its predecessor the Xbox 360 in U.S. markets.
“During the month of January, Xbox held five of the top 10 spots on the console game title list in the U.S.: ‘Battlefield 4,’ ‘Call of Duty: Ghosts’ (Xbox 360 and Xbox One), ‘Grand Theft Auto V’ and ‘Minecraft.’ Gamers love Xbox and our community has never been more vibrant on the industry-leading Xbox Live service,” Mehdi continued. “Since launch, over 2.6 billion global Gamerscore has been achieved, 165 million global achievements have been unlocked and 130 million global Game DVR clips have been uploaded.”
The console will also launch a special “Titanfall” bundle on March 11, which will give gamers the highly-anticipated first-person shooter along with the next-gen system for $499.
However, if the rumors are true, Elop could choose to cut the Xbox brand loose as a way to save the company billions of dollars in research. Do you think this is a smart move for Microsoft? Leave a comment or Tweet me!