If sources are to be believed, front-runner for next Microsoft CEO Stephen Elop who was Nokia CEO before the sale to Microsoft is apparently planning sweeping changes within Microsoft if elected.
These anonymous sources claim to be familiar and knowledgable of Elop’s thinking and first-up on the chopping board is XBOX and Bing. You have to remember Elop whilst at Nokia was responsible for axing the Symbian operating system in 2010, which was a bit behind the times but was the original true mobile phone operating system before Apple came along with iOS.
I can see the logic behind wanting to axe Bing. On the surface it’s a Google competitor and not nearly as popular as Google’s offering, but it does have a little bit of market share and has come the closest to competing with Google more than any other upstart has managed to achieved. Beneath the surface Bing is a highly valuable asset that goes beyond just another Google competitor.
I think selling off the Bing division is probably warranted but in hindsight, it’s a poor decision. The true value of Bing is the data, there aren’t many contenders in the big data space that have similar volumes of data like Google. Not just the search engine data, but also; news, weather, social data and maps (amongst other things). Windows 8 has become more and more reliant on Bings trove of data to bolster and improve its operating system (search, weather, maps).
The real flaw in Elop’s thinking is wanting to close down the XBOX division. Yes, the XBOX brand is losing money but it is also one of Microsoft’s strongest assets. It has brand recognition, it’s well-liked and with exception of the whole red ring of death fiasco, it’s been a solid console. Console gaming has a solid future alongside PC gaming and the recent number of copies of GTA V sold for XBOX and Playstation alone should be enough cause for keeping the division alive.
If the XBOX were to be sold, Sony would have no true console competitor and that would be bad for console gaming. It would be Sony and Nintendo and well, Nintendo have hardly been competing in the big boys race with Microsoft and Sony. When people think console gaming they think Playstation and XBOX. Whether or not the XBOX is making money is irrelevant in the greater scheme of things, it’s keeping Sony honest and innovating. Without competition, innovation dies.
Sales of Windows are declining, people aren’t upgrading their PC’s as much, the Surface tablets have failed to capture market share. The XBOX is Microsoft’s one and only true asset at present, and if sales estimations are to be believed, the XBOX One is going to sell extremely well.