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Microsoft appoints Stephen Elop to head Xbox

Former Nokia CEO is taking over the Devices and Studios division, as Julie Larson-Green moves into a new role

With Microsoft acquiring Nokia's device and services division, Stephen Elop is back in the fold, and the former Nokia CEO who had been a candidate to take over for Steve Ballmer (Satya Nadella got the job) is now about to lead Microsoft's Devices and Studios division, which is home to entertainment, games, Xbox, and Surface. The news comes today from an internal memo by Microsoft executive vice president Julie Larson-Green, obtained by Techcrunch.

Larson-Green revealed that she's taking up a new role to lead the My Life & Work team in the Applications and Services Group, serving as Chief Experience Officer.

"As hard as it is for me to leave Devices & Studios, I'm thrilled about this opportunity... I want to thank each and every one of you for welcoming me and supporting me as the leader of Devices & Studios over the past 7 months. I'm very proud of what we have accomplished during such a short timeframe. We launched Xbox One, Surface 2 & Pro 2, blockbuster games like Forza and Ryse, a brand new Xbox Music and Video service, PPI, and some amazing unannounced innovations just to name a few - incredibly impressive!" she wrote.

Larson-Green added that she's looking to make the transition in the Xbox group as smooth as possible.

"I'll remain in role leading the DnS organization in the interim until the Nokia deal closes and Stephen Elop makes his transition to Microsoft. We've been meeting regularly throughout and are making a lot of progress, ensuring our teams are ready for the Day 1 close and beyond," she said. "You are all in great hands with Stephen and already we've shared a lot with him and his LT from Nokia regarding all of the fantastic people, teams and products in DnS. I also know many of you are looking forward to welcoming the Nokia team and working more closely with them."

Ironically, back in November when Elop was still in the running for the Microsoft CEO position, it was reported that he would consider selling off the Xbox business, and now he's going to be overseeing it.

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Latest comments (14)

Andrew Ihegbu Studying Bsc Commercial Music, University of Westminster2 years ago
My god. What have you done Microsoft. :o
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Donald Dalley Freelance writer 2 years ago
Considering his track record, this is not a good sign.
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 2 years ago
This is the root problem in nearly every asoect of media. This idea that CEOs are interchangeable

Thirty years ago, the guy who was fetching coffee for some band stalled the Beatles would be getting the big chair. Now it's some guy with an MBA who may or may not know anything about the business. The guy running Best Buy, and gutting all their churn business right now for short term gains was running restaurants in France for Pete's sake.

And wow, people who knew and cared about the business made choices that were good for it, rather than short term stockholder gains. I have very little confidence that a guy whose phone company hasn't been relevant in a decade is going to be good for Xbox.
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Show all comments (14)
Tom Keresztes Programmer 2 years ago
It seems that the year of desktop Linux is getting closer.
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Jakub Mikyska CEO, Grip Digital2 years ago
To be fair, this guy became Nokia's CEO after it was already on its way to doom and he managed to keep it afloat. Most notably by ditching Symbian and signing everything that Microsoft placed in front of him.
Perhaps his whole plan was to become Microsoft's CEO the whole time (after all, he was the CEO of the Business division at Microsoft before joining Nokia).
Anyway, I agree that he is bad news for Xbox.
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Robert Ilott Build & CM Engineer, Criterion Games2 years ago
As an ex-Nokia employee who was told along with the rest of our site that we were being closed down by Elop in a vid-conf, I have this one thing to say to Microsoft:

Get him out. Get him out now or you might as well not bother with the XB1.
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Adam Campbell Producer, Hopster2 years ago
I have very little confidence that a guy whose phone company hasn't been relevant in a decade is going to be good for Xbox.
Elop and Nokia are quite recent history, with many suspecting his only purpose was to tie Nokia to the Microsoft ecosystem and then make it an acquisition target for them before rejoining the company in a better position. Quite a conspiracy.

I expected his responsibiltiies over Microsoft's devices would increase following the new CEO appointment, and I guess Xbox would logically be included in that.

I'm not too sure what this means for the future of Xbox, but from a positive perspective, a few new ideas or a change in direction (that do not include a sell off) may be of benefit to the division. This is considering that the strategies for Surface and Xbox One have been a bit of a disappointment to many fans and commentators.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 25th February 2014 11:34am

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Istvan Fabian Principal Engineer, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe2 years ago
This is what I call revenge - take down Nokia, take down Microsoft in return :)
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Tom Keresztes Programmer 2 years ago
As long as they don't introduce another horrible UI after the Ribbons and Metro, they will be fine. Wait, didn't they just put the person responsible for these in charge of the Applications group ?
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Paul Shirley Programmers 2 years ago
already on its way to doom and he managed to keep it afloat
That seriously overstates his supposed success.

Nokia was a company in stasis, in desperate need of change but unable to generate it internally. As an outsider he was able to force change, what we can't easily guess is whether that change was in reality better than doing nothing for the time he was there.

It's pretty easy to believe they could have done much better though - imagine a Nokia that followed Amazons lead, forked Android 3 years ago instead of waiting till now. A Nokia that didn't dump their entire product line overnight in favour of an untested and generally unloved alternative their parachuted in leader just happened to have access to.

Luckily he's unlikely to have the power to do much more than shuffle paper at his desk. Unluckily a man that wanted to sell the division may not fight very hard for the product or it's users.

Ultimately though, I have a gaming PC and a mobile for games here and it's largely irrelevant what happens to either of the AAA consoles ;)
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This looks' to mirror the reason that some of the departing XBone executives gave last year for their ship-jump!
The Microsoft board is not happy and XBone is going to be refocused on a mobile content and app approach, with the console as a delivery platform not a game console.
That observation would seem to be supported by this appointment - and will strike the consumer media hard as that means the budgets for promotion / marketing will be decimated!
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 2 years ago
It seems nobody really likes to be head of this division these days. Maybe Elop really is there to sell the entire division to Amazon or find some other way to get rid of it.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Klaus Preisinger on 25th February 2014 5:02pm

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Paul Jace Merchandiser 2 years ago
What the f.....
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Roland Austinat roland austinat media productions|consulting, IDG, Computec, Spiegel Online2 years ago
@Jakub:
Perhaps his whole plan was to become Microsoft's CEO the whole time (after all, he was the CEO of the Business division at Microsoft before joining Nokia). Anyway, I agree that he is bad news for Xbox.
Not just perhaps. And yes.
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