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The New Xbox Boss Is... Steve Ballmer?

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Former Xbox boss and incoming CEO of Zynga Don Mattrick will not be replaced immediately at Microsoft, according to a memo issued to Microsoft employees from company CEO Steve Ballmer.

The Microsoft chief says that Mattrick's top lieutenants—those in charge of games, the hardware, etc.—will be reporting directly to Ballmer himself.


Here's the e-mail:

From: Steve Ballmer
Sent: Monday, July 1, 2013
To: Microsoft – All Employees
Subject: Don Mattrick’s Next Chapter

Zynga announced today that Don Mattrick would be its new CEO, effective July 8. This is a great opportunity for Don, and I wish him success. 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.

Since joining IEB more than six years ago, Don and his team have accomplished much. Xbox Live members grew from 6 million to 48 million. Xbox 360 became the No. 1 selling console in North America the past two years. We introduced Kinect and have sold more than 24 million sensors. We released fantastic games, and, most importantly, we expanded Xbox to go beyond great gaming to deliver all the entertainment people want — sports, music, movies, live television and much more.

In the past month, the IEB team showed for the first time here on our Redmond campus, and again at E3, how we are going to continue to transform entertainment with Xbox One. I am incredibly proud of the work and vision culminating in Xbox One.

I’m particularly excited about how Xbox pushes forward our devices and services transformation by bringing together the best of Microsoft. The consoles are incredible all-in-one devices with built-in services that consumers love, including Bing, Xbox Live, Internet Explorer, SkyDrive and Skype. And, just as important, Xbox Games, Xbox Video, Xbox Music and SmartGlass light up Windows PCs, tablets and phones.

Thank you, Don, for setting us on a path to completely redefine the entertainment industry. The strong leadership team at IEB and their teams are well positioned to deliver the next-generation entertainment console, as well as transformative entertainment experiences, long into the future.


The last time Xbox had a switch atop the division, in July 2007, Microsoft issued a press release detailing the replacement of one exec with the next. This time, the top guy has pretty much disappeared. One step closer to the top, Xbox execs!


We'll let you know if/when Microsoft finds a replacement. It's hard to imagine that the company would want to run their console by committee or add that much more labor to Ballmer's workload long-term.

To contact the author of this post, write to or find him on Twitter @stephentotilo