Outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer knows that a lot of investors have their knives out for Bing and Xbox, but he’s not having any of it. GeekWire reports that in his last-ever shareholder meeting as CEO, Ballmer vigorously defended Microsoft’s search engine and game console divisions by claiming that both are an integral part of the company’s future. In particular Ballmer singled out the Xbox One as “a reflection of what is possible when a company, our company, is unified under a common vision” while also pointing out that Bing is helping Microsoft improve and enhance its other services such as its Windows Azure cloud computing platform.
“This is really a signature moment in the transformation of the company,” Ballmer said. “Microsoft is uniquely positioned to drive and define the next big thing.”
Some former Microsoft insiders have been calling for Microsoft to spin off Bing and the Xbox since both divisions have been notorious money losers for the company over the past several years. The trouble for Microsoft, however, is that the Xbox is by far its biggest success in the consumer electronics space while Bing is being integrated as a key part of next-generation versions of Windows. In other words, while axing Bing and the Xbox might deliver a short-term bump to Microsoft’s bottom line it could also come at the expense of the company’s future as a devices and services company.