In an interview yesterday with Fox Business, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) co-founder and former CEO Bill Gates was candid about his views on the company, including the possibility of selling off the Xbox division. If Microsoft’s recently appointed CEO Satya Nadella wants to do it, Gates said, he would “absolutely” support the decision.
Once Gates’ comments were picked up by gaming sites, however, Microsoft moved quickly to reassure gamers. The company’s communications lead Frank Shaw gave GameSpot the following statement: “Mr. Gates’ comments today were reflective of his support of Satya as CEO. As Mr. Gates noted, Microsoft is committed to gaming across multiple platforms with Xbox as the centerpiece of our gaming strategy. We remain committed to Xbox and the millions of Xbox fans around the world.”
This isn’t the first time the possible sale of the Xbox unit has come up. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s investment group, for instance, has suggested that the company spin off the Xbox business so it can “focus on their best competencies.” Also, Prior to Nadella’s appointment as head of Microsoft, CEO candidate Stephen Elop said that if he were the CEO he would consider selling Xbox in order to focus more closely on the company’s corporate customers. In an interesting turn of events, Elop now the Vice President of Microsoft’s Devices & Services business unit, which covers Xbox.