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Microsoft XBox (Games)

Steve Ballmer Replaces Don Mattrick As Xbox One Chief 343

Posted by timothy
from the so-crazy-it-just-might-work dept.
Edsj writes "While Don Mattrick leaves Microsoft to work at Zynga, Steve Ballmer announces that, from now on, he will be directly in charge of the Xbox One division as quoted: 'Don's directs will report to me and will continue to drive the day-to-day business as a team, particularly focused on shipping Xbox One this holiday.'"
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Steve Ballmer Replaces Don Mattrick As Xbox One Chief

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  • by realmolo (574068) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @10:55AM (#44165703)

    He's a moron. He doesn't understand the business AT ALL. Plus, he's obnoxious as hell.

  • by JDG1980 (2438906) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @10:56AM (#44165715)

    Look out for flying chairs!

  • Re:Well, (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PoliTech (998983) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @11:16AM (#44165969) Homepage Journal
    I thought it was: H1B's, H1B's, H1B's, H1B's, H1B's, H1B's, H1B's, H1B's, H1B's, H1B's ...
  • Re:Well, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xest (935314) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @11:19AM (#44166017)

    It's hard to imagine Mattrick was a scapegoat given that he implicated himself by defending so rabidly the DRM policies in interviews to the extent of insulting customers. I very much doubt his orders were "Don, go make a dick of yourself in public".

    I'm pretty sure he managed that all by himself.

  • Re:Well, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TWiTfan (2887093) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @11:22AM (#44166069)

    Or maybe Mattrick was a scapegoat and was doing what he was told to do.

    That might be reasonable, if it weren't for the fact that Mattrick was in charge of the Xbox division and answered only to Steve Ballmer (who doesn't have a rep of micromanaging).

    No, Mattrick's many mistakes were Mattrick's and no one else's.

  • Re:How bad is MS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BitZtream (692029) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @11:23AM (#44166105)

    This is in no way a bad reflection on Microsoft, and is an entirely bad reflection on Mattrick. It just illustrates that he's a complete scumbag.

    Going to work at Zynga as the CEO is not going to be a 'shitty' job. He's in charge, not one of the grunts stealing games from others and working 90 hour weeks.

    It makes it clear that even Microsoft has some sort of moral standards, Mattrick isn't capable of living up to even those low standards, so he had to go run some other absolutely shitty company into the ground. Should be easy considering it was already well on its way before he became CEO.

  • Re:Well, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RogueyWon (735973) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @11:25AM (#44166121) Journal

    Yes, this feels like a case of emergency damage limitation. After a period in the mid-point of the current console cycle where things seemed to be going their way, Microsoft have had a fairly poor late cycle (unpopular 3rd-gen dashboard, a drought of major exclusives, overtaken by the PS3 in global installed-base stakes). This all culminated in a very difficult lead-up to E3 and an absolute disaster at E3 itself.

    The company went in the wrong direction with always-online DRM and, arguably worse, didn't have a convincing story to tell on why it was going that direction in the first place. Admittedly, they probably got dumped on by some of their industry partners. In particular, EA claiming that they never wanted always-online DRM and denying that they had anything to do with its inclusion in the XBone was reminiscent of a small child frantically wiping cake-crumbs off his mouth while emphatically denying that he raided the fridge to steal the cake. But ultimately, whatever pressure there was on MS from publishers to go the always-online route, Sony recognised that it was a better long term strategy to side with the customers instead. MS's about-turn since E3 is welcome, but it hasn't helped the company's reputation.

    And reptuation is probably what this is about. Not so much reputation with the general public, but reputation with shareholders. From its early days as a long-shot cash-hungry investment, the Xbox line has become a big part of MS's business. With the Windows side of the business not doing very much and with the company's attempts to get into the phone and tablet market not going very far, annual reports have shown that Xbox and Office are basically the two big growth areas in Microsoft.

    On the day of E3 it looked like MS was about to commit suicide in one of those two areas. Shareholders will not have liked that. And while the general gaming public has welcomed MS's u-turn since then, shareholders will have liked it even less. Why? Because it smacks of confusion and a lack of a strategy. If MS had stood firm, then at least shareholders might have clung to the belief that the board knew what it was doing here and would be proved right in the long run. With a u-turn, it seems that the executive team has been making decisions that it doesn't even believe in itself.

    So now, Ballmer (who, rather oddly, still enjoys a lot of shareholder confidence) steps in personally to provide reassurance that the company recognises it has a problem and is getting a strategy in place to fix it.

    If the games industry in particular (and the tech sector in particular) had smarter and more in-touch shareholders, then a lot of executive teams would be getting very uncomfortable. However, there seems to be little chance of that happening any time soon.

  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @11:34AM (#44166243) Homepage Journal

    We are nothing like 1984. 1984 reflects a society that willingly wanted the conditions told in the book to occur. That is no way the case in modern society, regardless of how your feeble thought process wants to pervert it. No one in modern society wants to be spied on.

    Dear lord, but do I wish that were true...

    In reality, there's actually a fair contingent of the populace who will not only bow to the governments every whim on the dubious claim of "safety," but will demand you hit your knees as well, with equal fervor.

    You don't see this because you insulate yourself from them, partially by posting here on Slashdot; I implore you, go check out the comment sections on Yahoo, MSNBC, or Fox News for any of the stories about Ed Snowden. You will not like (and may have trouble believing) what you see.

  • Re:Well, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Xest (935314) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @11:42AM (#44166349)

    I think you're right about DRM being put in originally somewhat at the behest of companies like EA. Microsoft has bagged itself a lot more exclusives and a lot more big names this time round at it's launch than Sony and I have no doubt that that was part of a deal on their DRM policy. Where that leaves them now with said deals I've no idea - it's also quite possible the companies themselves realised that if they forced Microsoft to keep the DRM as part of said deals that there'd be no installed console base to even sell their exclusive titles on in the first place. It's possible that they were part of the u-turn themselves if this were the case.

  • Ballmer Kong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @11:59AM (#44166541) Homepage
    I don't know why everyone is so down on Ballmer in this story. I think he's perfect. For years, Nintendo have made a ton of money off of a great big monkey. Now, Microsoft are finally competing on equal terms.
  • Re:Well, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by UnknowingFool (672806) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @12:11PM (#44166707)
    Ask consumers what they think of Windows: At best they are neutral about it. Companies use it because they must. I wouldn't say consumers clamor for Windows; they get it when they buy a computer. Now Office probably has better appeal but most consumers don't use it other than at work.
  • Re:Well, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @12:54PM (#44167399) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft just can't seem to find a happy place with DRM. They saw the iPod and said "we can do that, only better because you'll be able to share the music!" That sounded great, but then the reality set in that they would have to implement some incredibly onerous DRM to appease the record labels who had just spent the last decade with brown pants after they saw how easy it was to share music digitally. This meant that even though the Zune technically had more features than an iPod, the DRM was also up and in your face constantly unlike the iPod, causing people to resent your product. The best DRM is the one you don't notice.

    And then Apple removed DRM from the iTunes Music Store and it was game over.

    This is also a case where Microsoft's strategy of always going second backfired. Normally it allows them to avoid risky maneuvers by letting other companies test the waters so Microsoft only jumps in once they're sure it is safe. However, this meant that a great many potential customers already had a ton of music in iTunes and didn't want to leave that behind just to use a product that was pretty much the same as the one they already had.
  • Re:Well, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gorzek (647352) <gorzek@Nospam.gmail.com> on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @02:31PM (#44168729) Homepage Journal

    In other words, Microsoft's problem over (at least) the past decade is that they're no longer a market leader. They no longer get to dictate which way the market goes. Used to be, whatever they put out the door--Windows, Office, etc.--people snapped it up and got on board. Now? Windows 8 sparked rebellion. Their mobile operating systems have been aborted and reborn so many times users are gun shy about giving them another try (to say nothing of how ultimately saturated the smartphone market is anyway.) And now they've managed to burn up much of the goodwill they built with the Xbox division by having such a disastrous showing at E3. Again, they were left following what a superior competitor put on the table, rather than anticipating what the market would want and offering it before anyone else did.

    Admittedly, that's a very hard thing to do, but you'd think a company as large as MS, with so many talented people, and with such vast resources, could do a lot better than they have. But then vision and leadership come from the top. It's what made Apple work so well for so long. As noted elsewhere, Ballmer is not and never has been a visionary. I have no doubt he's a competent manager and salesman--he might even be great at those roles--but a CEO has to offer a clear, unifying vision to motivate everyone under him, and MS' vision has been so disjoint and erratic over the past decade or more as to be no vision at all. It's become a company of "me too"-ing.

  • Re:Well, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by steelfood (895457) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @04:45PM (#44170189)

    back then they did do something interesting things

    That's probably because all the real innovators they swiped from DEC for NT are no longer around or heavily involved in any new projects.

  • Re:Well, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Grishnakh (216268) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @06:20PM (#44170839)

    Slashdot has decided that Ballmer is the physical incarnation of all that is evil and malicious in the computing world.

    Don't be ridiculous. Ballmer is far too incompetent and too much of a buffoon to have such a reputation.

  • Re:Well, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Zalbik (308903) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @06:59PM (#44171141)

    True, but ask consumers what they think of any operating system: At best they are neutral about it.

    This is the whole problem with linux on the desktop. Geeks expect people to want to us a computer, and to enjoy the sheer thrill of having that amount of technology under their control.

    Regular users look at a computer as a necessary evil, with about as much control as they'd have riding an elephant. They don't care about the tech, they care about the result.

    I believe as far as most customers are concerned, there are no good operating systems...there are just ones they are more familiar with and ones they are less familiar with.

    It will be interesting though. The office, windows, and server product divisions really could be run by a magic 8-ball without much impact. Ballmer has shown little ability to get Microsoft to innovate successfully (windows phone, Office 365)...so it will be interesting to see what he does with a very consumer oriented product like the XBox.

C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas l'Informatique. -- Bosquet [on seeing the IBM 4341]

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