Bill Gates

The whispers that Microsoft is interested in selling or spinning off its Xbox division have been swirling for some time. Perhaps the most concrete evidence of that move being a real possibility emerged from a February Washington Post report claiming a pair of “influential Microsoft shareholders” were putting the pressure the software giant to move on from what they believed to be a non-essential product line.

Now Bill Gates himself has weighed in on that prospect. When questioned by Fox Business Network if he would support Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella if he chose to go in that direction, Gates responded, “Absolutely.”

That does not, however, mean that the company’s founder thinks unloading the Xbox division is the right move. In fact, he noted that doing so was not an “obvious” choice and emphasized that Microsoft has future plans for Xbox and gaming at large.

“Well, we’re taking PC gaming — Windows gaming — and Xbox gaming and bringing those a lot closer together,” Gates told Fox. “The power of the PC graphics chips means you can do great games there. So I’m sure Satya and the team will look at that, and, you know, it’s up to them. But we’re going to have an overall gaming strategy, so it’s not as obvious as you might think.”

So then, it appears that Gates has full trust in his company’s new CEO. He would go along with it if Nadella wanted to spin off or sell off Xbox because he believes that would only happen if the executive was fully confident that doing so was the right move for the company. Nevertheless, statements like those Gates made tend to draw attention, and that’s exactly what happened, with many major games media outlets running the story.

In fact, Microsoft’s PR department has elucidated Gates’ stance, telling Eurogamer that the statement was meant only as a show of support for Nadella. It was not an indication that Xbox will no longer be a part of the company that created it.

Microsoft Communications Chief Frank Shaw said in a statement issued to Eurogamer that Gates’ words “were reflective of his support of Satya as CEO.” Microsoft’s devotion to its Xbox platforms has not wavered, Shaw said.

“As Mr. Gates noted, Microsoft is committed to gaming across multiple platforms with Xbox as the centerpiece of our gaming strategy,” he continued. “We remain committed to Xbox and the millions of Xbox fans around the world.”

Sources: Fox Business Network, Washington Post and Eurogamer

Image Source: The Telegraph