Rumour: Elop to consider dropping Bing and Xbox if appointed Microsoft CEO?

Stephen Elop is a potential candidate for the position of Microsoft CEO, succeeding Steve Ballmer when the current head steps down. According to a report over on Bloomberg, Elop would consider shaking things up at Microsoft. Office would be targeted, as well as Bing and Xbox. So what kind of changes would we be looking at?

Rum: 6

As always with rumours, we recommend you take this with a grain of salt, but it's certainly interesting to imagine how Elop would settle down at Microsoft. It's also worth noting that Elop has not been appointed the position and Microsoft is still currently accessing both internal and external candidates.

That said, Stephen Elop is set to join Microsoft should the deal go through, taking charge of a new Microsoft devices unit that will be responsible for hardware including the Surface tablets and Xbox video game console. So why would Office, Bing and Xbox be on the cards for change if the current Nokia head became the next Microsoft CEO?

Bloomberg's sources have said Elop believes Microsoft could increase revenue by maximizing sales of Office, rather than limiting the suite to Windows hardware. With the current PC market dwindling, one could assume Elop could look to capitalise on competitor platforms, including Android and iOS. Currently the company is delaying any launch of the Office suite on non-Windows smartphones.

Not only that, but it's said Elop would also be prepared to "sell or shut down major businesses to sharpen the company's focus." This would reportedly include ending Bing and the continued struggle against Google's dominance in the search engine race, as well as Xbox if it were determined the division wasn't part of the strategy.

Indeed, quite a few analysts have called for the exact same moves for Microsoft, so those ideas are hardly new. It's just no one at Microsoft has embraced them. Yet.

Bill Gates Microsoft

Whether Microsoft would listen to analysts and investors and sell its Xbox division among other assets is yet to be seen. It's still early days and the company continues the search for the next CEO. In the mean time, there's an Xbox One launch to get through, along with new Lumia hardware.

Of course, these "sources" from Bloomberg could be trying to poison the well for Elop and his chances at Microsoft. So remember, not only may this be 'FUD' but it may be a strategic decision to sink his chances. Regardless, do you think those proposed ideas good or bad?

Source: Bloomberg

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

351 Comments
  • I don't care if people say Microsoft needs an outside perspective, If Mullaly and Elop want to kill Bing and Xbox, they clearly don't support the One Microsoft vision.
    Edit: also, Rich, no thanks for my tip about this? (;
  • analysts say it will be good for short term profits...
  • Yeah, they want money right now, they could care less about us or longevity...buncha brats with no sense =/
  • Sorry, but this one always bugs me to no end. You mean, "... they couldn't care less ..."
  • English isn't my native language, and even I get how wrong that is. :-(
  • I hope Microsoft doesn't turn into another company focused on short term profits.  We need long term focus. I'll admit, I use and prefer google for searches but we need alternatives.  Google has us a few steps short of becoming the Borg. 
  • The Borg, damn we are getting closer and closer to it..lol
  • The Borg and Federation. Yeah, that's a fight. LOL
  • Well ... either the Borg, or Skynet ... (-_-)a
  • Aren't these the same analysts that were suggesting Nokia made a mistake by choosing Windows Phone over Android? Analysts are good for nothing in a case like this one, where all you need to do is use a little common sense. This move would turn a lot of people away from Microsoft. I for one stay loyal to them because of their product offerings. Though a lot of people hated Microsoft with a passion throughout the Apple hype era, the Xbox sales numbers (not revenue) were what kept Microsoft in people's minds. That's one of Microsoft's products that they need to keep around, just to keep a positive image of their company in people's households.  The Xbox is a reflection of Microsoft's Software and Hardware innovations. In no way should an anchor, a staple in people's households, like the Xbox, be given away!  Horrible hearing this news. I thought Elop would give us Canadians a better name after all his amazing work with Nokia. Don't do it Stephen! You know what's right!
  • Here here!!! Kunal Pahwa!!! Couldn't have said it better myself!
  • Well said.  For the younger gereration, The XBox has created more good will than possibly any other product line they have.  It's what has saved MS from dorkdome in the past.  And Bing is great.  I use it almost exclusively.  However, I'd be less offended by the loss of bing.  But XBox must stay!!
  • Short term. Emphasis on that.
  • Good for profits? No, they make millions a month / billions a year from Xbox live subscriptions and advertising (dashboard ads) alone
  • No. They don't. Read up, and you'll find Xbox, overall, hasn't been profitable for MS. Every Xbox is subsidized (sold below cost). Particularly when a new console generation is released, that subsidy adds up. This typically costs MS billions of dollars, which they havn't been able to make up for. That is what MS is heading into now, and that is what the finance guys are worried about.
  • Yes they do, read their financial report for their last quarter. The devices and electronics division, which includes Xbox, claimed a revenue of 2.53 billion, up from last year quarter by 53%.
  • That's because that division includes the Android royalties MS collects, and that amount to 2.5 billion this year.
    If it wasn't for that, the losses would be accurately publicized as unsustainable.
  • You're not understanding. I said "overall". We are at the very tail end of XB360. Obviously, producing that console today is now dirt cheap, as it's almost a decade old machine... that is ancient by computing standards. The XB360 no longer needs to be subsidized. However, the XB360 still hasn't recouped all the costs it encured at the beginning of its lifecycle. Over the last ten years, overall, XBOX has lost MS billions of dollars. MS would have more money in the bank today, if they had never made the XBOX360. There are a few articles on the web describing the sad state of XBOX financials.
  • What's a few billions? You do realize more 2X more money than Google, right?
  • You are extremely naive if that is truly what you think. MS doesn't exist to entertain people at their expense. MS exists to earn money, just like any other company. I never said those expenses will kill MS. Those expenses will kill the Xbox however... in time, if nothing changes.
  • profit in 2K8 how many 0's in a billion? that happeend in 2010 for XBL
  • Managers aspriring to higher positions focus on short term profits.  CEOs/leaders focus on keeping a business healthy through sustainable growth.  MS needs a CEO and leader.
  • Xbox loses 2 billion a year.
  • Where the hell is DBJC or DJBC (whatever it is)?
    This is his crowning moment. He's been spreading the grimness with regard to this acquisition and elop for the longest time :P
  • Not necessarily...they may simply what that "One Microsoft" to don't be so big.
  • What?
  • What would MS's purpose in life be without those things? This move would be awful
  • Thanks
  • It is much easier to drop Elop than dropping Bing and Xbox.  At least, drop him from the short list. I'm in the dropping mood today.  :)
  • Agree to that. Follow his previous companies, most of them are gone.
  • Exactly!
  • Elop promises to get rid of two of your children if allowed to marry hm.  Fixed.
  • Yeah, you're right. Bing can compete to google. 
  • If Bing and Xbox goes, there goes Microsoft and Windows 8.
  • I completely agree
  • I totally agree :-\
  • Bing gives us the best search experience on windows devices since it's integrated.
  • It would be better to allow us to choose our own search provider. I would've switched from the awful Bing searches years ago. I'm sure it's fine in the US, otherwise it generally sucks.
  • Currently we can't even get a decent YT app from Google,No Gmail and on and on.  what do you think the search experience whould be like?
  • Yep the results are terrible in Australia.
  • it's not a Big mistake . it's totally ruined
  • I will consider this FUD until I hear it for myself from elop if he becomes CEO. Then I will act accordingly.
  • Here here! I may have to abandon ship!
  • I'm keeping my hand on my MSFT shares Sell button.  As soon as the news proven true, I'll push it.
  • SOOO true!
  • Elop will be showing weakness if he moves to get rid of Xbox especially, it's showing he doesn't have confidence in the Xbox One, which in turn will put people off... domino effect... Microsoft brand down the gurgler (that's the toilet/lavatory for international crowd).   Bing.... meh, I could live without it.
  • I was rooting for him but not anymore if this is the case.   BIG mistake.
  • My thoughts exactly. If this is true, I no longer support Elop. The only reason that any MS product is successful is due to the tie ins of all MS products. This is a sad and disgusting rumor. Please don't destroy the reason we are MS fans!
  • I agree but I seriously doubt Elop would do any of these things. Its definitely FUD
  • Your comment just made me sad. They don't have to destroy the reasons and products that makes us Microsoft fans :(
  • The whole thought of any of this makes me sad. I cannot imagine, nor do I want to...
  • And that brings us to the point: Is this true or are 'they' trying to undermine him?
  • I agree 100%. I'm a MS fan because of these products. I'm only windows 8, Xbox, Bing, and bought wp8 because these are tied in with each other. .
  • +1. I don't want to have to go back to evil Google.
  • There's always yahoo...
  • Yahoo is using Bing's search engine. So no Bing, no Yahoo! iPhones are also running on Bing now. If Bing goes, Google won't have any competition anymore, and that's not good!
  • If I'm not mistaken it's a partnership between Microsoft and Yahoo, so Microsoft could potentially sell their share to Yahoo to let Yahoo continue the good fight alone, using the Bing engine.  Although I doubt Yahoo could put the money into it that's needed to keep it a serious competitor.
  • I don't see why MS fans are rooting for Elop. Tony Bates seems much better choice if you are a fan. Elop is a salesman like Ballmer but at least Ballmer had the Passion and long-term vision. By contrast Tony Bates has the background to be the visionary leader - younger, cooler, tech savvy.
  • Me too
  • +920
  • Then, Bloomberg wins.
  • Agreed....the One initiative is WHY I love MSFT so much. Apple does it and is profitable doing so. Elop...ouch...
  • WTH!
  • If Elop goes in as CEO then MS will be finished providing anything for the consumer market.
  • Still rumors, so for all we know this could just be not true at all
  • there was a rumors too when selop want to sell Nokia then it become real
  • Why don't you think Bloomberg is full of assholes?
  • I'm craving for a supersized soda!
  • POOP!
  • Yep! Whoever believes this made up rumour nonsense is borderline retarded.
  • Yeah. Still not a fan of this. There are plenty of people mentioning that Xbox is a loss of money for them, but the overall factor it plays towards integration is (potentially) worth more than the money they make off of the system alone. Having an Xbox, surface, laptop, and phone all under the windows banner is clearly something Microsoft wants... And backing away from that would be bad. Bing, I'm less upset on. But it seems weird now that they're FINALLY beginning to capture more than 5% of the search market.
  • Anyone that claims XBox is a loss apparently doesn't look at financial reports. They may sell a console at a loss initially, but sales of Gold subscriptions and the share of game sales makes up for that in a hurry, and once the processors drop a process node they tend to break even on the console.
  • You are incorrect, look at the total investment vs return. It is a loss.
  • How much did the writeoff for repairs factor into that? I believe it was nearly 6 billion just to fix the red rings.
  • It was 1 billion. Bing it
  • Sure if you look at it from day one, but that's the past. We're talking about the future. It would be total idiocy to kill a product once you start making money from it.
  • Exactly. People obviously don't have any grasp of what a sunk cost is. Killing xbox or bing today won't get back past losses. To me it looks like MS has tried to learn from past mistakes in xbox one design. The console is big and well ventillated with a huge fan. I think that a repeat of the RROD is unlikely. Secondly, they're not going to lose any money on consoles this time around. They've publicly said that they expect to make a small profit on the hardware from day one. If you factor in XBLive subscriptions, I'm betting XBO is going to be profitable. As for bing, it's finally putting a dent in google market share. Revenue per search is up substantially since last year. It's also turned out to be a very good platform that is important to a number of things. It doesnt matter if xbo and bing can overcome past losses. What's important is whether they can make money in some reasonable future timeframe and whether MS could make more money by redeploying resources elsewhere in the company or laying a bunch of people off. Longterm, being beholden to google for anything to do with internet would be a massive drag on the company. As for xbox, it is a halo product, and even if it's only ever going to be break-even, it should be kept unless they're going to do a full retreat into the enterprise, which would be a huge mistake for the longterm health of the company imo.
  • Thank you. A simple Bing search shows how enormous xbox revenue is
  • I actually really like Bing, and hardly ever use Google anymore. The hook was the points I get from searching, which pays for my Hulu subscription. After that got me into using it regularly, I like the search results I'm getting. I would miss it, particuly since they have the Bing For Schools program that I'm about to implement. To get an idea what you can get out of it, if 60 people did Bing searches for a month, the school will have earned one free Surface tablet. Anyways, I was rooting for Elop. Now I'm rooting against him.
  • Kill Xbox??? Is that a joke? And bing is gradually gaining traction, no victory is won without a struggle! I don't think those two decisions are in the best interest of MS
  • Its certainly profitable, and very much so, in the short term. In the long term? Not so much. I'm not sure how selling off Xbox right now would help anyways. Microsoft already did all the R&D and manufacturing costs, you might as well recoup it. I don't think XBO and PS4 cost as much as the previous generations to manufacture though. The last generation launched with insane specs for the time, this generation has a tablet level CPU and a midrange GPU as far as PCs go. Based on really, really dirty math, a single 4.5ghz haswell core is about as powerful as six Xbox cores in perfect situation. (Up to 2x better IPC x almost 3x clock speed divided by six cores for gaming). And that's in a perfectly threaded situation and assuming every available core (two go reserved to the system) is used for gaming.
  • XBO? That's the first 'name' for the console I've liked since Xbone :)
  • What no love for XBomb or OneBox?
  • Wow, I was rooting for this guy, maybe he really is just Elop the Trojan.
  • Rem blomberg always have shitty sources !
  • That's actually false. Bloomberg has a rule of at least 3 sources for a story and they tend to be right. If not, please provide a counter example where they go it wrong.
  • They do have rules, but those sources can be saying anything on their purposes. Who knows if those source don't talk to each other? The point is: this is against basic logic. Obviously, it is not Elop talking, he is not talking right now, not even to his wife about this at this moment. If we assume there is truth in this rumor, the source has to be directly from msft. Bill Gates or the board decide that's what they will do? I don't believe that. No, Dan, no. It's not going to happen. I don't have record for Bloomberg, but I do have for WSJ, NYT, Reuters. They have been full of it many times. Reading the comments here, you find some mindless people start hating Elop, they don't hate Bloomberg. That's exactly what Bloomberg, or their sources trying to do. Regardless, Elop will be CEO in a few week. Yes, I am so sure.  
  • The number of sources has nothing to do with whether they are "good" or "bad" sources.  And, of course, the number of sources means little if they are not independent of each other.  Without researching a backlog of Bloomberg articles and source attribution, I would guess that they are, more often than not, spot on, as you say--else people would quickly turn away from Bloomberg as an authority.  With this said, it appears that sloppy journalism and/or loose sourcing can be found even at Bloomberg: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-10-01/microsoft-intel-alliance-weaken... http://semiaccurate.com/2012/10/08/bloomberg-wrong-about-intels-woes/
  • He's clearly a Trojan horse planted by Nokia to destroy Microsoft, then Nokia will buy Microsoft.
  • Lol. So funny
  • I think elop was a quadruple Trojan planted by Lotus, now IBM. He's gone lotus-> adobe -> MSFT ->Nokia -> msft back to adobe then lotus? :P
  • He will join all company in the world. Including Apple and samsung. And then there's no company left anymore. They're sold by elop :P lol
  • HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Clearly!
  • How I wish your joke wasn't a joke...=P
  • That's the funniest comment on any website ever.
  • MS needs a younger CEO with some balls and ideas
  • F it...we need Allard back!
  • +1
  • Maybe a nice 10 year old with a track record of playing X Box.    
  • I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way...
  • In my mind I picture Randy Watson and Sexual Chocolate performing that number.
  • Ender Wiggin, FTW!
  • This. 
  • BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
    Why do these IDIOTIC FOOLS think Bing exists solely as a search page for Microsoft? What should they do then, just adopt google as their solution in the enterprise and across their services??? RIDICULOUS !!! >=[
  • We might finally get YouTube support (officially)
  • Between youtube and Xbox&Bing, I stay with Xbox&Bing.
  • The day that happens is the day the sun stops shining. Google is riding a high horse & hell bent to destroy Microsoft's smartphone division.
  • Spin out XBox would take away any chance that Microsoft has on improve its tarnished brand image. It's like the only cool factor for the company. If Microsoft only has the OS and Office suite as its main products, it's back to the year 2000. Losing Xbox would also hurt integration with WP and Surface, And lastly, if Bing is gone, what's the default(ONLY) search engine for WP? Google? As if the platform is functioning so well with anything google right now... So as much as I like Elop i hope this would not be true. Tony Bates is my favorite option right now...
  • These proposed ideas, regardless of their true source, are ludicrous. The beauty of what I like to think of as 'the potential Microsoft' is their ability to encompass and unite all elements in a regular consumers tech-life, and to do that in a way that no other company is positioned to. Are they really capitalizing on that ability yet? No. But with Surface, Office, Lumia, Xbox, Skype, ie, Outlook, Bing, and of course Windows, they are the only company with fingers in every pie.
  • Totally agree.  They are at least getting closer to realizing that vision.
  • Wow, I was hoping he would be the one to get CEO, but now no way. The whole reason I experimented with windows phone was because of Xbox, and I fell in love with it, and now he wants to sell it? And Bing, ok I know it isn't a google yet, but its all I use now that I'm google free. I've recently started to only use Bing and I find the experience equal to that of googles. Plus Bing is intergraded into all Microsoft devices. I don't like the idea of Elop doing this, it seems like he wants to take a step back, eliminating all the word MS has done, right when they are actually gaining ground. Now his other idea of giving office to ios is a good one, wait a bit and let the exclusivity help windows 8.1, then share it with apple. But Android? If MS makes a android office app I'll be furious. Fuck google and there "open" platform. Only way that is acceptable is if they make a trade with Google, give us there services, and ms gives its services to google, otherwise like I said earlier, fuck google
  • Ditched Google last week.
    While Bing's algorithm is in no way par with Google's, there actually getting better. The only Google service I still use being Youtube, and there's no alternative to it. So, yeah, screw Google.
  • Yea, it's not nearly as user friendly, but I guess that depends on how you look at it too. You have to change the way you search for certain things. For instance, when I used Google and I searched for "trailers" all of the best movie trailer sites showed up. However, in Bing they show one or two movie trailer websites and a bunch of actual trailer(like the kind you live in or hitch to your truck) sites. Now for me it's a negative caus eI'm used to the google way, but for some people, a literal search is good. It depends on the needs.   With that said, on this topic, I think it would be a terrible idea to get rid of anything. Especially now that MS is finally starting to get all of their products on the same page.
  • That is an incredibly, extremely dumb idea to drop two services that are implemented into Windows Phone and Windows 8. 
  • I don't believe it. I think it is someone trying to stir things up and perhaps see where Elop stands.
  • LOL, this can't be true at all.
  • I doubt the above rumor is credible. Elop has a strong believe to the Ecosystem model. In fact he based his whole strategy of transforming Nokia to Microsoft's ecosystem. Xbox and Bing (besides Microsoft brands and services) are critical parts of Microsoft's ecosystem. Businesswise is not making any sense too. Xbox is now making money after so many years of losses and it has expand Microsoft's ecosystem from Games to Movies and Music. Same for Bing is improving as a whole, in many areas, including market share and today is far more than just a search engine. Prepare your stomachs my dudes. With almost all Microsoft product and services now being (extremely) successful, Xbox, Bing, Windows Phone, Windows and Office, the Internet needs a new negativity against Microsoft and breaking up the company will be their new stinky subject.
  • +1
  • Microsoft dropped the ball when they rebranded Xbox Music and Xbox Video. They should have called them Bing Music and Bing Video and integrated them into the search engine. They also should have rebranded Skydrive to be Bing related, like BingDrive. Then Bing would be all things content. The link between music and video content and the Xbox game console is tenuous, especially since they are also on Windows 8 computers and tablets and Xbox Music is on the Web. As it is now, I sit at my desktop computer and type "Thor" and it gives me great looking search results, including Xbox Video? What? I'm not on my Xbox...
  • From the same article... "We appreciate Bloomberg’s foray into fiction and look forward to future episodes,” said Frank Shaw, a spokesman for Microsoft. "
  • Yeah, but that doesn't garner page hits and comments. ;)
  • Accessing != assessing.
    Sorry to seem nit-picky, but it drives me nuts when journalists have so many problems with writing. It leads me to stop reading.
  • +99
  • Ha ha. Elop really knows how to destroy a company. Maybe Microsoft will start using Android on it's "Nokia phones".
  • I would murder nokia
  • That will mess things up big time that consoles a big seller
  • Bring back Bill!
  • +1520
  • Bill doesn't want to be the CEO. He has clearly stated that.
  • Besides he is too busy donating millions upon millions and doing charity work. His foundation takes up to much of his time.
  • I know. He's a philanthropist.
  • This would change me from a Microsoft fan to a no-company fan. Technology would suddenly be very boring for me. Nothing to follow.... :(
  • There's the Google-escapee ran yahoo and the possibility of planning something? I mean, no company spends millions of dollars on different companies and startups just to shut them down and do nothing with them. Yahoo is planning something, I'm sure. So there's that...
  • It makes some sense.  Cut the dead weight and focus on what they do well. 
  • Sorry how is the second best Search engine in the world considered a "dead weight" ?