According to a new Bloomberg report, Nokia’s former chief executive officer Stephen Elop is currently in the running to replace the outgoing Steve Ballmer as the new CEO of Microsoft. Should Elop take the reins, it could mean big changes for the company’s Xbox business, as he is reportedly “considering” selling the company’s Xbox business.
Citing unnamed sources “with knowledge of [Elop’s] thinking,” the report states that the prospective CEO (who is currently in the process of becoming the head of Microsoft’s devices unit, which would put him in charge of the Xbox business) plans to focus the company’s efforts on its Office products, rather than using those profits to “prop up sales of Windows-based devices.”
As part of this plan, Elop is said to be considering closing or selling off areas of the business he views as not “critical to the company’s strategy.” Apparently, this includes the Bing search engine and the Xbox video game business.
A spokesperson for Microsoft commented on the report, saying “We appreciate Bloomberg’s foray into fiction and look forward to future episodes,” so this should be considered a rumor until something official is announced.
With that said, Elop’s rumored plan is just the latest in a long line of analysts and investors who have started to question Microsoft’s hardware involvement in the video game industry. There is so much chatter at this point that I would not be surprised to see the Xbox business sold off in the near future. Exactly how such a move will impact Xbox 360 and Xbox One owners remains to be seen.