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Xbox COO offers solidarity to Sony over security breaches

Dennis Durkin: "It's bad for the industry that this has happened to Sony"

Dennis Durkin, COO and CFO of Microsoft's interactive entertainment business, has extended something of an olive branch to Sony over the issue of hacking, maintaining that he sees no advantage in crowing over his rival's security problems.

Although couched in terms of a larger statement on the security of Xbox LIVE as part of an interview with IndustryGamers, Durkin's comments seem to reflect a consolidated industry position on the threat posed by malicious hacking outfits.

"It's bad for the industry that this has happened to Sony," Durkin told our sister site. "It's very, very bad. It's very damaging. So we don't wish that upon anybody and you've seen we've been actually pretty quiet on the subject because we don't want to appear to even be looking to be taking advantage of somebody else's situation like that. That's just not in our DNA.

"Over time, all of the bets Microsoft is making are about cloud bets. We want customers to feel confident about the quality of service they're getting, the reliability they're getting, the security of the data that they have and the security of the private information that they have.

"As a company, you can look back 8, 9 years ago, when Bill Gates wrote his Trustworthy Computing Memo that basically said, 'We need to change the way we architect our products and it has to be designed into the way we architect our products and services.' So it's in our DNA, across the company. This is not just an IEB thing.

We don't want to appear to even be looking to be taking advantage of somebody else's situation like that. That's just not in our DNA.

Dennis Durkin, Microsoft.

"So this has really been a multi-year effort for us as a company and it'll continue to be one because this future, which we think is very much about services and very much cloud based - whether it be entertainment consumption or productivity - in order to do that, you have to have a secure environment. So we're going to continue to do that and we don't want to see any of our competitors hurt along the way. We think that's bad for consumers."

It's likely that benevolence was not the only reasoning behind Microsoft's placidity on the issue, as the two platform rivals have a long history of public sniping. By putting its head above the virtual parapets to deride Sony's security, for example, Microsoft would likely have become a target itself. In his closing comments to IndustryGamers, Durkin was keen to stress the importance which Microsoft places on the security of its customer data.

"[Xbox Live] is obviously very important to our consumers," Durkin argues. "It's part of the value proposition of why consumers buy our gaming consoles... So they want that to be on just like you want your phone to be on. And so we have that obligation and we've been diligently, not only in terms of our processes, which we leverage heavily from the company, but just in terms of our people resource and all that so we do everything we can to protect our consumers' data.

"Like in society, you can't always protect everything. There are people who are going to want to disrupt things and you can't always perfectly protect against every scenario, but we're going to make sure we do everything to we can to be sure we're as secure as we possibly can be. And thankfully - I'm grateful to be part of a company like Microsoft, who has such deep investments across its whole ecosystem that we leverage. Because it's an industry challenge and it's something that we all have to get better at."

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Dan Pearson