Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates was interviewed on Fox Business News yesterday. Among other things, he was asked about investor and analyst suggestions that Xbox and Bing be spun out or sold.
Gates deferred to newly minted CEO Satya Nadella but said that he would support an Xbox spin-off if that was the decision. He was more strongly opinionated about Bing, however.
Gates characterized the Bing technology and business as more “fundamental” to a number of Microsoft products and initiatives, including Office. He’s quoted by Mashable as follows:
I see [Bing] as a pretty fundamental technology for the company, even for its Office business, it’s a very, very core business … We’re thinking about ‘are there pieces that are separable,’ but for our basic research, including the stuff that goes into Bing, I can’t see that making sense to break it off.
After the interview aired Microsoft’s Frank Shaw took to the Twitter airwaves to dispel the notion that Microsoft might be selling Xbox.
Context: Bill’s comments re Xbox reflected support of Satya as CEO. Also said committed to gaming x-plat with Xbox as key to gaming strategy
— Frank X. Shaw (@fxshaw) May 5, 2014
Prior to the announcement of Nadella as CEO there was a rumor that then CEO candidate Stephen Elop was open to the idea of selling off Xbox and Bing. And apparently even Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen believes that Xbox and Bing should be sold, as “distractions” from a more profitable enterprise focus.
Of the two, Xbox is more likely to go. Nadella, once in charge of Bing, is far less likely to support a sale or spin-off of the search business.