Report: Mattrick's Xbox Exodus Spurred By Upcoming Reorganization

by Mike Futter on Jul 02, 2013 at 03:44 AM

Fast Company has published a profile of new Zynga CEO (and former Microsoft president of interactive entertainment) Don Mattrick. The piece is an interesting look at a man recently at the receiving end of gamer backlash, but more importantly hints at upcoming changes in Redmond.

The piece speculates that Mattrick's departure, which left the Xbox One launch in the hands of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, was unexpected but also instigated by a major reorganization that will be taking place in the coming days. It also suggests that Phil Spencer, current head of Microsoft Studios, will be tapped to take over the interactive entertainment business.

Fast Company's sources point to the shakeup as the primary reason for Mattrick's departure. He was rumored to be in line to lead a new hardware division. 

Mattrick is known for being an aggressive business strategist, turning around the Xbox business. His tenure is marked by the hiring of former CBS executive Nancy Tellem to lead the Entertainment Studios and the spearheading of the Kinect project (which has now sold 10 million units).

We've reached out to Microsoft for comment on the reorganization.

[Source: Fast Company]


Our Take
I suggested yesterday that Phil Spencer would be a smart pick to fill Mattrick's role, and I stand by that. He's got the right personality, a deep love of gaming, and a long history at the company. Even if he doesn't get tapped to take the lead, putting him in front of gamers would be the smart choice.

As for an organizational shakeup, it's clearly needed. The Xbox brand needs to become more focused, and the communication needs to be tighter. Most importantly, it needs to happen quickly. In his role as CEO, Steve Ballmer has an entire company to worry about, which means the Xbox One launch isn't going to get the attention it needs from him.