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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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  • Reorg (Score:5, Interesting)

    by recoiledsnake (879048) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @09:53AM (#44165673)

    A major reorg of MS is imminent, hence Ballmer doesn't want to reveal the real head yet and asked them to report to him for the time being. Tired of Slashdot's misleading and biased headlines and summary.

  • Re:Reorg (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sribe (304414) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @09:57AM (#44165725)

    A major reorg of MS is imminent, hence Ballmer doesn't want to reveal the real head yet and asked them to report to him for the time being. Tired of Slashdot's misleading and biased headlines and summary.

    What, exactly, is misleading about it???

    MS, according to you, is in such a state of disarray that Ballmer cannot reveal the real head of Xbox, but instead has to step in temporarily??? And we expect that pending reorg to accomplish what, exactly???

  • Re:Well, (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Xest (935314) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @10:02AM (#44165793)

    Quite the opposite I think.

    If you look at what happened with the DRM fiasco, we had Don insulting his customers saying basically that DRM was for their own good but also importantly that it couldn't be removed, then within a couple of days you had it removed including detail of the implications that had on other systems and features which is not a mere couple of days work to evaluate properly.

    I suspect what happened is that Sony did their unveil, Don refusing to admit he was wrong (because he hates consumers, and is an arrogant dick, hence why Zynga is perfect for him) carried on parroting the DRM line whilst his reports knew that this was a major problem, bypassed Don because he was a waste of space and went straight to Ballmer to say "Let us remove this or we're done", Ballmer gave permission, they sent to work on it and had a good week to do it whilst Don was still oblivious, or knew full well, but was trying to fight his corner internally. Either way he obviously lost eventually.

    Hence why he has now gone, because he was basically undermined by those under him who knew far better than him what the customer wanted and what strategy was required not to completely destroy their product before it was even released.

    This is also I suspect why they're not replacing him, because his reports probably knew better what made a good product than he did, hence why they may as well report directly to Ballmer and cut out the idiot in the middle.

    Goodbye Don, you wont be missed, EA's most awful DRM regime period, overseeing Microsoft's worst XBox ideas, Zynga, you're an example of everything that's wrong with the games industry. It's nice to see you've finally ended up somewhere that deserves you and that you deserve to be at.

  • Deja vu? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Kwpolska (2026252) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @10:05AM (#44165837)
    Steven Sinofsky, the moron responsible for Windows 8, left Microsoft a very short while after releasing Windows 8. We have a quite similar scenario here, save for the quit happening a bit earlier, but still after shit hit the fan.
  • Re:Well, (Score:5, Interesting)

    by UnknowingFool (672806) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @10:10AM (#44165901)

    Or maybe Mattrick was a scapegoat and was doing what he was told to do. When he saw what was happening at MS, he looked for a way out. Either way this is another problem that happened on Ballmer's watch.

  • Re:Well, (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JDG1980 (2438906) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @10:11AM (#44165919)

    Cutting out underperforming middle management and flattening the hierarchy is not a new idea in business. It can work well, but it relies on the person at the top being competent, hardworking, and flexible. Suffice to say that the events of the past few years indicate Ballmer might not be up to the job.

  • by Tridus (79566) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @10:18AM (#44166007) Homepage

    The stock has moved around within a given range without really growing out of it for what, ten years now?

    Besides, this short term thinking is what makes companies fail in the long run. Ballmer's job has been to grow into new markets. The company did that with the Xbox 360 (and then tried to piss it all away with the Xbox One), but hasn't exactly been tearing up the phone or tablet spaces.

    The board should be asking "is this the right guy to grow the company in 5 years?" and not "is this the right guy to meet expectations for Q2?"

  • Re:Well, (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Xest (935314) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @10:23AM (#44166083)

    I don't think Ballmer is bad in every way, I think there are some teams he seems to have recognised know what they're on about and so he just leaves alone for the most part. Windows Server and SQL Server for example have just continued to get better.

    I think Ballmer's flaw is that he has no vision, whilst Steve Jobs knew a good product when he saw one and knew when resources needed to be poured into it, and also knew when a product was a lost cause and knew when to axe it I don't think Ballmer is capable of that.

    In other words I think Microsoft's product success (like Kinect) happen in spite of Ballmer, rather than because of the support of him, but it doesn't mean that impressive products can't get through and tried and tested products can't just continue to improve when he just leaves them alone. It's possible he'll just take a hands off approach with the XBox One now.

    Or in other words I think Ballmer is a relatively passive leader, he doesn't have the drive to really fire up Microsoft and make it move, but he doesn't have the competence to axe bad ideas either. Microsoft nowadays strikes me as being somewhat in zombie mode with some departments coming up with good ideas and getting them through all by themselves without any help from leadership and other departments coming up with awful ideas (Windows 8 Metro) and pushing them through with no real leadership opposition either.

    Still I may be wrong, there are people here who work at Microsoft, maybe they can give their thoughts and explain it even if anonymously.

  • by Tridus (79566) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @10:23AM (#44166091) Homepage

    Believe it or not, I actually think this is better.

    Let's be honest here, the reveal and everything since has been a fiasco. Mattrick was the guy in charge, and he blew it in "they'll teach this in business schools" fashion. They made a lot of mistakes with the Xbox One, Sony took their lunch money, and pre-orders have been disappointing.

    Ballmer can't really do worse, though I don't expect he'll do a ton better. So much damage has already been done to the brand name that trying to sell it as the most expensive system on the market isn't going to fly. People don't hear the name "Xbox One" and think "worth a premium price". They hear it and think "that's the thing my friends on Facebook said sucked, why would I pay more for that?"

    Ballmer might also be open to the drastic step necessary to right the ship - make a version without the Kinect and charge $100 less for it. Pricing problem solved, and early adopter core gamers don't give a rats ass about Kinect anyway.

  • by gallondr00nk (868673) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @10:47AM (#44166393)

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

    He doesn't really have to be at that level, all he has to do is be an alpha male, leader of the pack. Look at the developers thing on Youtube and you can see it perfectly clearly. He bounces around and screams and veins are popping out on his head like he wants to kick the shit out of something. It's the angry red faced jock mentality that got him to where he is, it wasn't despite it.

    Often company directors don't get to where they are by being exceptionally capable or understanding their business, but because they're wired to be willing to bully and cajole and throw as much shit as is necessary to advance their careers.

  • Re:Well, (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SerpentMage (13390) <ChristianHGross.yahoo@ca> on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @10:51AM (#44166437)

    Completely wrong IMO. Ballmer is a sales person plain and simple. He can sell anything to anybody. I agree he has no vision, and therein lies the problem. He takes ideas from others and tries to add them to Microsoft. Here are examples under Ballmer's watch:

    1) Oh oh shiny toy called Java, must have -> .NET
    2) Oh oh shiny toy called Flash, must have -> Silverlight
    3) Oh oh shiny toy called Mobile, must have -> Windows 8
    4) Oh oh shiny toy called Objective C, must have -> "refocusing on C++, and throwing .NET under the bus"
    5) Oh oh shiny toy called Search Engine, must have -> Bing
    6) Oh oh shiny toy called Online docs, must have -> Office 365
    7) Oh oh shiny toy called JavaScript HTML, must have -> WinRT
    8) Oh oh shiny toy called cloud computing (AWS), must have -> Azure

    I know there are more, but Ballmer sees a shiny toy and like a pin the tail on the donkey game adds it to Microsoft products. Yet the problem is that it is second rate and people just don't use it. Microsoft has become a massive laggard in new ideas and new technologies. Granted they were not that innovative to begin with, but at least back then they did do something interesting things like Office (it used to be individual apps that did not work together), COM/OLE, or even Windows NT, and drivers. Ironically people don't give Microsoft credit for making the driver architecture work. Before Windows, drivers were a bleeding pain in the arse. Sure there were ideas on unifying, but Windows actually made it work effeciently.

  • Re:Well, (Score:4, Interesting)

    by UnknowingFool (672806) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @11:03AM (#44166587)

    I think Ballmer's flaw is that he has no vision, whilst Steve Jobs knew a good product when he saw one and knew when resources needed to be poured into it, and also knew when a product was a lost cause and knew when to axe it I don't think Ballmer is capable of that.

    Steve Jobs also used Apple products and always had a hand in design. While they could be little things that mattered (like iPod syncing upon attaching the cable) to more trivial items (lack of screws), everyone knew Jobs was in charge and he was an asshole when he didn't get his way. With Ballmer it doesn't seem he's involved at all with key decisions. Anyone who tried to use Win 8 on desktop would have seen that using a tablet interface on a desktop was bound to cause user rebellion.

  • Re:Well, (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anubis IV (1279820) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @05:18PM (#44170829)

    Microsoft has bagged itself a lot more exclusives and a lot more big names this time round at it's launch than Sony...

    I've heard this line repeated a few times, and I believed it to be true as well when I heard the announcements about the DRM, since catering to third-party publishers was the only rational explanation I could come up with, but all of the evidence I've seen so far seems to indicate that Microsoft actually didn't manage to secure that many exclusives from third-party publishers. In fact, compared to Sony, they're nowhere close. For instance, sort the lists at the following links according to the "Exclusive" column:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Xbox_One_games [wikipedia.org]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_PlayStation_4_games [wikipedia.org]

    At the time of this post, the numbers break down as:
    XBO - 4 exclusives from publishers besides Microsoft (EA's Titanfall is the only major title of those)
    PS4 - 25ish* exclusives from publishers besides Sony (including games from Atlus, Blizzard, Capcom, Digital Extremes, and Square-Enix)

    If Microsoft bit the DRM bullet in order to win exclusives from third-party publishers, they have yet to show evidence that their plan bore any fruit. That said, they did manage to win a number of exclusives from third-party developers by publishing the games under their Microsoft Studios umbrella, but since they're publishing those themselves, they wouldn't have had any pressure from outside sources to introduce DRM of the sort they did, leaving me right back where I started: confused about what their motivation for the DRM was in the first place.

    * The number has "ish" on it because there are 24 definite exclusives with 3 more that have publishers labeled as TBA.

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