Stephen Elop Would Kill Bing If He Gets Microsoft CEO Gig

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Karim Sahib, AFP/Getty ImagesMicrosoft CEO candidate Stephen Elop
By Steve Kovach

Stephen Elop, one of the candidates in the running to be Microsoft's (MSFT) next CEO, is said to be considering selling the company's Bing search business and Xbox video game business if he gets the job, according to Bloomberg.

The Bloomberg report, which cites a few sources with knowledge of Elop's thinking, also says Elop would focus heavily on Microsoft Office, finally bringing it to iPhones, iPads, and Android devices as a way to lure people into the Windows ecosystem. Elop used to be in charge of Microsoft's Office business, so that makes sense.

Elop was the CEO of Nokia (NOK), but he stepped down after Microsoft announced it would buy Nokia's mobile devices business for $7.2 billion in September. Once the deal goes through, Elop will head up a team at Microsoft that manages mobile devices like smartphones and tablets that Microsoft will make. (Assuming he doesn't get the CEO gig first, of course.)

The Bing selloff makes sense.

Microsoft's attempt to take on Google (GOOG) in search was risky at first, and it hasn't made much headwind.
Bing only has 17 percent of the search engine market share in the U.S., compared to Google's 67 percent, according to the latest ComScore (SCOR) numbers. Microsoft also loses a lot of money from its online services division, which includes Bing. Since 2005, the division has lost about $11 billion. One could argue Microsoft is just throwing money down a rat hole with its Bing business. Wall Street has been howling for Microsoft to dump bing for some time now.

Microsoft's current CEO calls all that lost cash an investment. In 2012 he said Bing is more than just a search engine, but a way to gather data for important technologies that will shape our future like big data and machine learning. Ballmer doesn't necessarily see Bing as a regular search engine anymore. Instead, Bing will integrate deeply into Microsoft products like the Xbox, Surface, and Windows Phones.

But based on the Bloomberg report, it seems like Elop is looking at the numbers behind Bing and those numbers do not look good:

Spinning off the Xbox business makes less sense. As Microsoft repositions itself as a devices and services company, it likes to tout its popular video game console business as an example of how it can make great hardware people love to use. Despite its financials, Microsoft's Xbox business is one of the company's strongest, most beloved brands and proof that it can make hardware integrated with services people want.


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43 Comments

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Sharon

Damn, and I like Bing much better than Google....cause when I use google it brings up millions of sites which a lot of them do not even pertain to the subject searched! Where Bing brings up many many less and sometimes the exact one!!

November 09 2013 at 6:28 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Richard Bale

Draft the CEO of the Nokia disaster to head your organization? Great idea! Why not also hire the captain of the Exxon Valdez to command your brand new cruise ship? Is there absolutely no penalty for failure within the upper echelons of corporate management? Why do stockholders permit these morons to continually rehire each other?

November 09 2013 at 5:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cjaneke

Elop makes sense. Bing is at best useless. Xbox is a relic from another era. Microsoft is about business and productivity. Windows (viz. click-and-play interactivity) is the core of the productivity model. Windows did not migrate (effectively) into the smart-phone and touch-screen era. Tapping and swiping is cute but complex and time-consuming. The ultimate challange however is mobility / connectivity / security / privacy. Which means more efficient transmission protocol and novel encription means as a starter. Also ..no freebees. You get what you pay for.

November 09 2013 at 4:11 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to cjaneke's comment
DIrk Daggler

xboxone just came out , lol

November 10 2013 at 12:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
unshy13

This man is secrectly a spy for sony... don't hire him!!!

The only competing business against Sony and it's playstaion is Microsoft.. so kill off microsoft xbox and then no competition makes sony raise their prices ridicuously and then there goes the gaming industry allowing the rise of nintendo again. I love xbox and it's services, don't sell it off. I don't want to go back to a sony system...

November 09 2013 at 1:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
m.young38

I generally use aol search occassionally msn but I can not stand bing. some of what they do is just an excuse to invade my privacy or a flaunting of having done so, depending on how you look at it. I wish email were just email. and that I could get an email account without it having social media automatically attached. I wish I could post here without having to allow them to get in my email contacts as I mix family friends and business all in one and do not wish the vicious social cycle to go around. I use to love being on the internet now I use it very little mostly just to read the headlines and I am done.

November 09 2013 at 1:05 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
steves1709

Bing is still around? And who controls the remaining 16% of web search business??

November 08 2013 at 11:47 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
J

I'm amazed to read the claim that Xbox is "beloved" as a brand. Maybe compared to Bing, but that's saying nothing. Even if true, that would be no argument against the financials. MS has lost an enormous amount of money in their attempt to buy the video game business, and this guy wants to stop the bleeding.

November 08 2013 at 11:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to J's comment
DIrk Daggler

they are making money on the xbox360 trust me this guy has no clue what the hell he is doing.

November 10 2013 at 12:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
aripalda

Not only should he not be CEO, he should be fired. Bing is actually better than Google, it's just a matter of getting people to break habits. "Google it" has become a verb. If anything they should change Bing's name to make it similar. "Bing it" doesn't have the same effect. And for thinking of selling Xbox, he should be castrated.

November 08 2013 at 11:23 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Craigermt

Switched to BING about a year ago and would never willingly go back to GOOGLE. BING is much better in local and well defined searches than GOOGLE ever was.

November 08 2013 at 10:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Doorstoregirl

It sucks that Incompetent V.P.'s, Presidents, CEO's get forced to "Resign" and then move on to more lucrative positions in other companies. CEO's of fortune 500 companies do not "Quit" for better jobs elsewhere - they get FIRED. Let them sit on unemployment for a while and give the more qualified individuals a chance.

November 08 2013 at 10:35 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply