Microsoft's new CEO Satya Nadella talked about speculation that the company might sell off Xbox and Bing at the Code Conference in California, explaining that both divisions are here to stay and they're still holding key roles in Redmond's long-term strategy.Nadella explained that while most people believe that Bing is just a search engine that allows users to look for information worldwide through its website, many of its features are also implemented in other key products in Microsoft's lineup, including Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone.
Bing currently has 30 percent of the search market, Nadella said, and thanks to its strong ties with some other products, the search service remains an essential part of the company.
Bing is the product that powers Microsoft's so-called Bing Smart Search feature in Windows 8.1, allowing users to search for content online and offline. At the same time, it's also the core of Cortana, Microsoft's personal assistant that's currently implemented in Windows Phone 8.1 and which could soon arrive on tablets and PCs running modern Windows as well.
As far as Xbox is concerned, Nadella explained that he's not willing to change everything about the gaming ecosystem, which pretty much means that Microsoft's plans to conquer the living room are still alive.
“I have no intent to do anything different with Xbox than we are doing today,” he said.
And despite this new focus on cloud and fresh products, software continues to be Microsoft's thing, with Nadella explaining that whatever the company will launch, software will still be at the core of everything.
“It is the thing that is really going to power all the experiences on all the devices today and tomorrow. In order to be in the hunt for those experiences, and get it right, you do need to from time to time build devices, so you don't leave anything to chance,” he said.
Selling off Bing and Xbox was a scenario that was first brought up by people close to Microsoft's board, as some investors apparently wanted the new CEO to get rid of these two divisions and concentrate on Windows and Office.
What's more, if it weren't for Satya Nadella taking over from Steve Ballmer, Microsoft would be probably focusing on software only, as some of the company's shareholders wanted the company to focus on the things it does best.
Stephen Elop, former boss of Nokia and currently in charge of Microsoft's device unit, has been linked with a potential selling of Xbox and Bing. Elop was one of the candidates for the top job at Microsoft and sources close to the negotiations said that getting rid of these two units and focusing on products such as Windows would have been one of his key decisions after the appointment.