Microsoft to sell off ‘Xbox’ business?

White Xbox One
Apple? Samsung? SEGA? Who would buy?

As ridiculous as this sounds, according to Bloomberg, rumours have started to gather about potential future business plans for global industry giant, Microsoft.

Stemming from talk that, former Nokia CEO, Stephen Elop may take over the role of Microsoft CEO, the rumours have surfaced from three, as yet unnamed, people who have been party to Elop’s analysis of Microsoft as a business. Elop has a history of making bold moves (he sold Nokia to Microsoft for over $7 billion) and if the word of three anonymous sources is to be believed –  Elop “would be prepared to sell or shut down major businesses to sharpen the company’s focus”.

The first, unconfirmed, point on his agenda would be to terminate Microsoft’s ‘Bing’ service. This makes total sense. Bing has been a poor pretender to Google’s throne since launch, has been widely criticised as an inferior product and – let’s face it – wouldn’t be missed! However, the second part to this alleged plan would be to sell off the ‘Xbox’ part of the business.

Without seeing his analysis, it’s hard to judge whether this makes any sense or not!? Instinctively, my reaction is that it would be a massive mistake. Microsoft may have made a few missteps with the Xbox One (all prior to launch, we are yet to see if these fumbles add up to anything significant at retail), but the Xbox 360 performed incredibly well throughout its solo lifespan (support for 360 is set to continue until 2016). It was stated that he would only consider selling Xbox: “if he determined it wasn’t critical to the company’s strategy”. However, the fact that it is even in the conversation is surprising enough!

When looking at the upcoming (almost here) Xbox One console, you can see that Xbox has very much become its own brand. Though Microsoft’s mark might be all over the UI and colour scheme, it ISN’T prominent on the machine, controllers or even packaging! Perhaps the ‘Microsoft’ brand and ‘Xbox’ brand aren’t as close as we may have imagined?

Should the unthinkable happen and not only do Microsoft appoint Elop as CEO, but they also decide to sell off ‘Xbox’ – who would be most likey to take up the reigns?

One thing’s for certain, it isn’t going to be cheap!

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