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Steve Ballmer is Taking Command of Xbox One

By - Source: Microsoft | B 42 comments

Ballmer taking control of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business may be part of his restructuring plan.

It was a big surprise that Don Mattrick, the former head of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business who just addressed the gaming nation over the DRM changes regarding the upcoming Xbox One console, stepped down from his role to become CEO of struggling FarmVille developer Zynga. Yet it shouldn't be a surprise: after all, sources foretold of his departure last week as part of Microsoft's supposed restructuring plan.

For now, Microsoft reportedly doesn't have anyone lined up to fill Mattrick's shoes, so Ballmer himself is taking control of the IEB unit. Currently it's unknown if Ballmer's self-appointment is only temporary, or permanent.

"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," Ballmer said in his email to employees.

Zynga said on Monday that it had named Don Mattrick as its new CEO and a member of the Board of Directors, effective July 8, 2013. Mark Pincus, Zynga’s founding chief executive officer, will remain Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Product Officer of the Company.

“I joined Zynga because I believe that Mark’s pioneering vision and mission to connect the world through games is just getting started. Zynga is a great business that has yet to realize its full potential," Mattrick said. "I’m proud to partner with Mark to deliver high-quality, fun, social games wherever people want to play."

Both announcements seemed to have appeared out of nowhere, especially just weeks after Xbox One went live at E3 2013 and Mattrick settled the dust of controversy over the console's DRM setup. But with Ballmer now in control of the IEB, there's now concern that he's not the right person to lead the Xbox One launch four months from now. He's a charismatic businessman to say the least.

As previously stated, Mattrick's departure was actually reported last week as part of the restructuring plan Microsoft will supposedly undergo. Ballmer was slated to reveal this plan on Monday, and the announcement conveniently falls on that date. Sources noted that there would be significant departures from Microsoft, and many executives will have larger roles, as business units will be moved around into new divisions.

In addition to Mattrick, the shift supposedly includes Satya Nadella, president of Microsoft’s Servers and Tools division; and Tony Bates, president of its Skype communications unit. Qi Lu, president of Microsoft's Online Services unit, and Terry Myerson, who runs the Windows Phone division, are also in the picture.

That said, more changes within the Redmond walls are expected to arrive soon. Whether Ballmer has revealed his restructuring plan to employees is unknown at this point, but the plan seems to be unfolding nevertheless. Ballmer may wait to fill Mattrick's role with another Microsoft executive until after the console launches in November.

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  • 3 Hide
    Jerky_san , July 2, 2013 12:13 PM
    Welp we better get ready for even more epic fail.. Didn't think the fail could be any worse though..
  • 2 Hide
    de5_Roy , July 2, 2013 12:17 PM
    microsoft seems to think xbone needs to fail more. as if their drm schemes, lack of launch titles, too much focus on media consumption instead of actual console gaming weren't enough....
  • 3 Hide
    RipperjackAU , July 2, 2013 12:26 PM
    Looks like Steve is going to get Don's sloppy seconds!
  • 2 Hide
    vmem , July 2, 2013 12:27 PM
    well, nothing like Ballmer taking command to make a product fail -_-
  • 2 Hide
    The Grave Digger , July 2, 2013 12:30 PM
    One Stubborn *sshole replaced by Another Stubborn *sshole...Good Job microsoft
  • 2 Hide
    mapesdhs , July 2, 2013 12:40 PM
    MS need to get someone else running the Xbox1 show as soon as possible,
    because Balmer would be a disaster. Anyone else here in the UK see
    Balmer's epic fail interview on the Click show when he tried to pretend that
    Windows was suitable for tablets? It was embarassing to watch. Balmer is
    too much the straight business type to lead a gaming project. They need
    some new blood for sure.


  • 0 Hide
    Farfolomew , July 2, 2013 12:44 PM
    Mr kevin parrish i think its about time you updated your balmer photo. I knew before clicking on this article.that if this was written by you i knew what photo id see. It is a great pic tho, you rarely disappoint!
  • 0 Hide
    yannigr , July 2, 2013 12:46 PM
  • 1 Hide
    jhansonxi , July 2, 2013 12:50 PM
  • 0 Hide
    hakesterman , July 2, 2013 12:52 PM
    Awesome, Everything he's touched has turn to Mud, Can't wait to see the mud slide.
  • 1 Hide
    Kusham , July 2, 2013 12:53 PM
    dead before if hit the market... chapeau. Sony can now implement drm - and STILL come up a head
  • -2 Hide
    g-unit1111 , July 2, 2013 12:54 PM
    Titanic sinking!! Abandon ship!! They just hit the iceberg!!
  • -1 Hide
    Stimpack , July 2, 2013 1:02 PM
    This is how the world ends.... and the party begins.
  • -2 Hide
    smeezekitty , July 2, 2013 1:05 PM
    That can't be good...
  • 0 Hide
    ingtar33 , July 2, 2013 1:11 PM
    expect to see a media blitz like none other shortly. There is only one thing Balmer knows... and that's the shout down the competition. The airways will be flooded with xb1 commercials from now until the superbowl.

    Also, expect for some of the recent reversals to be reversed again. He doesn't like to admit M$ is wrong. he's all about the bottom line. So watch all the reversals come with a $100-$150 price DROP. It will once again be an always online machine, with draconian DRM policies, likely far more integrated kinect (probably won't be able to turn it off or cover the camera), all covered up with the price drop

    just you watch. it's going to happen. This will be about convincing 13yos and their soccer moms to buy it, not about making nice with the hard core gaming and computing crowd.
  • 0 Hide
    pariahdox , July 2, 2013 1:14 PM
    @yannigr Xbox None... has a nice ring to it... or maybe, Xbox No-One

    seriously though, im getting one and not the least bit concerned
  • 0 Hide
    m32 , July 2, 2013 1:23 PM

    - Gamers - " Yeah Ballmer!"

    "XBOX ONE PRICE NOW $599."

    -Gamers - "Da faq!"
  • -2 Hide
    reconviperone1 , July 2, 2013 1:41 PM
    Oh shit, they are frakked!
  • 2 Hide
    falchard , July 2, 2013 1:45 PM
    How is an always on internet connection a Draconian DRM policy?
    Draconian - Adjective
    1. of, pertaining to, or characteristic of Draco or his code of laws.
    2. ( often lowercase ) rigorous; unusually severe or cruel: Draconian forms of punishment.

    Now a DRM that installs a rootkit that makes it easier to break your computer, and does active performance inhibiting checks is Draconian. The proposed DRM is more akin to Steam's DRM.
  • 0 Hide
    CaedenV , July 2, 2013 1:47 PM
    While on the surface it is very easy to understand the Balmer hate because he comes off as loud, slow, annoying, and uninformed. And yet he has been in charge of MS for quite a while now, and has not only managed to not sink the ship, but actually grow it.
    So while my initial reaction to balmer being placed in charge makes me think that XB1 will now just be Halo and sports games, I have to step back and realize that while I do not like him, he has made some great decisions in other departments so this may not be so bad.

    I still dobut that we will see cross-platform capabilities between XB1 and Win8 PCs like we should this generation... but who knows. Maybe something good will happen.
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