Microsoft should have released a gaming smartphone, says former Xbox executive

Microsoft should have released a gaming smartphone, says former Xbox executive

Robbie Bach, a former Microsoft executive, recently shared what he learned during his stay at Microsoft, and things he regrets, especially a gaming-themed smartphone known as the Xphone. During an interview with Polygon (via Windows Central) to promote his upcoming book Xbox Revisited: A Game Plan for Corporate and Civic Renewal, Bach talks about several things related to Microsoft and Xbox. 

Robbie Bach worked for Microsoft for 22 years and was the president of Microsoft’s Entertainment & Devices Division. He was there when Microsoft introduced the original Xbox, and also helped Office products during his 22 tenure before saying his good-bye to the software giant in 2010. 

Bach mentioned the idea of a handheld gaming device known as the Xboy was discussed quite often, and was put on the table by the team. However, it was shot down by Bach and other management team members in order to focus on getting the Xbox gaming console right. 

“Xboy was indefinite. People came and said, ‘This is what it would take. This is what we think. This is the strategy. Here’s the business model. What do you think?’ The management team would say, ‘You know, it’s just not worth it.’ Unfortunately it had such an appeal emotionally that the idea kept coming back,” he said. “We just looked at this as a management team and said, ‘If we try to do this we’ll hurt Xbox a lot. Xbox is the strategic thing that must get done. It must get done right.’ It was my first really hardcore lesson in saying less is more. Forcing the team to focus and say, ‘We’ve got to get this right first.’

However, the idea of a gaming smartphone, the Xphone should have been there. Only if the company put some thought in the launch of a touch-enabled smartphone, which became a reality after Apple introduced the iPhone back in 2007, with every manufacturer jumping in the touchscreen smartphones.

“The irony is, the thing we missed about that was it should have been a phone. What we should have done was the Xphone, not the Xboy. I don’t think it would have been an obvious thought at the time. This was still pretty early. This is three years before iPhone. But if we’d been prescient enough to start looking at phone technology, looking at touch screens — if we managed to think that all through, we might have said, ‘Oh gosh, we should do an Xphone.’ That could have been … who knows? Hindsight is 20/20.”

None of these ideas became a reality, but everything good happens for a reason. Let’s just focus on the future and hope that Microsoft will make Windows 10 Mobile worthwhile and competitive enough to go against iOS and Android.

Share This
Further reading: , ,