Microsoft entered the console race “to stop Sony” claims former exec

Thursday, 7th February 2013 08:23 GMT By Dave Cook

Xbox exists because Sony and Microsoft have always had a heated working relationship, prompting the latter to enter the console race for itself. That’s the claim of former Microsoft exec Joachim Kempin, who was vice president of Windows Sales at Microsoft. Kempin has revealed the relationship between both companies in a new interview.

We first reported on Kempin back in January, as he has a new book coming out soon that reveals the untold story of life at Microsoft. In it, he paints CEO Steve Ballmer as something of a bully, and claims that his resignation could be the key to Microsoft’s success.

Speaking with IGN, Kempin now states that the only reason Microsoft entered the console market was to challenge Sony head-on, suggesting that there is some bad blood between both parties. The decision – he says – came directly from Bill Gates himself.

Said Kempin, “The main reason was to stop Sony. You see, Sony and Microsoft…they never had a very friendly relationship, okay? And this wasn’t because Microsoft didn’t want that. Sony was always very arm’s length with Microsoft.

“Yeah, they bought Windows for their PCs but when you really take a hard look at that, they were never Microsoft’s friend. And Microsoft in a way wanted them to be a friend because they knew they had a lot of things we could have co-operated on because they are, in a way, an entertainment company, you know?

“I mean, at least a portion of Sony is and they had some really good things going there, but as soon as they came out with a video console, Microsoft just looked at that and said ‘well, we have to beat them, so let’s do our own.’”

Hence the Xbox brand was born. We now know that both companies clash often in the market, and hold timed exclusives to allure fans to their respective format. Console wars are hype machines, nothing more, but it seems to be something many gamers enjoy in the spirit of friendly – and sometimes not so friendly – competition.

What do you make of Kempin’s claims? Has Microsoft done a good job of tackling Sony? Let us know below.



  1. alterecho

    Looks like this is why Sony won’t try to adopt Windows Phone platform.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. locus2k1

    “Console wars are hype machines, nothing more, but it seems to be something many gamers enjoy in the spirit of friendly – and sometimes not so friendly – competition.”

    Well said.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Dave Cook

    @2 thanks.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Bomba Luigi

    Im not really a Fan of MS or the Xbox and don’t plan on buy the next Xbox, but I’m happy they entered the Console Market. I think it was very Important that someone else was there after Sega going down. Only Sony and Nintendo left would be not a good Thing for the Industire, I guess.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. orakaa

    Oh boy… oh I wished Sega would still be making consoles (especially instead of Microsoft and their cheap unreliable hardware… both my Xbox 1 and 360 died on me… never again, never again)

    #5 2 years ago
  6. shogunknight

    @4 I agree, competition between these three companies has saved us quite a few crazy decisions that would have been made if only one or two of the industries were present.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Goffee

    So Sony got into consoles to fight with Nintendo, Microsoft did the same to get back at Sony, leaving Sega and Nintendo as the only pure-hearted console makers worthy of our support!

    #7 2 years ago

    Hey everybody!

    Buy my new book, it’s got some really controversial HOT TOPICS in there that I made up you didn’t know before!

    #8 2 years ago
  9. sh4dow

    I think they did a great job and a very important one too. I hated all the PlayStation hype, with the usually overpriced hardware and more shitty games than great ones. Still do. Although the 360 was a bit of a letdown because of the RROD. Made me think I should’ve bought a PS3 this generation.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Tormenter

    “Microsoft entered the console race “to stop Sony””

    We know this already, of course they did and they were willing to lose billions just piss them off, they just happened to come out on top, which certainly wasn’t planned for.

    Every time I read something about this Joachim Kempin, I like him more and more, well as much as I can ‘like’ a corporate whore.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. salarta

    Really? I was under the impression that Microsoft joined the console race because they wanted to be in the living room and hoped to completely dominate that market like they dominated the operating system market.

    I’m not saying he’s a liar, I have no idea what kind of things they discussed in meetings and all the things that led to the launch of the XBox, but I do find it hard to believe “We did it to stop Sony” was the actual reason. Especially when he framed the whole situation as if Microsoft was trying to be some saintly big buddy that did everything for the most altruistic reasons and went out of its way to try and work with Sony before deciding to compete against them as a last resort. I sincerely doubt that only the Sony side of the Microsoft-Sony relationship said and did things that hurt that relationship pre-XBox. Reads to me more like one of a fighting couple blaming everything on the other person.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. theevilaires

    Microsoft entered the console race “to stop Sony”

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Christopher Jack

    @1, Nope, they won’t adopt it because they won’t get many sales from it. If they thought they could benefit, they’d build a WP8 device in a heartbeat.

    I think MS is a little backwards, they should be working the full on desktop experience into mobile devices, not mobile experiences into desktop devices, that’s exactly why Windows RT is flopping.

    Of course they’ve developed a nice looking & fluid mobile OS but it lacks too many functions that Android users love, even iOS is more functional BEFORE jailbreaking.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Gadzooks!

    Windows phone is the worst piece of shit OS I’ve ever been subjected to. Barebones doesn’t come close to describing it. I wouldn’t mind so much if it was slick and stylish, but it isn’t.

    No corporation in their right mind would adopt it. I’m amazed HTC bothered producing a WP device.

    On topic:

    I wouldn’t be gaming now if the original Xbox hadn’t launched. I was getting very bored with consoles, and Xbox with online play and games like PGR and Halo came along and injected some much needed life and forward thinking into the industry.

    I guess I have Sony to thank for spurring MS on to go it alone and produce a fresh new console, and saving me from Sony’s descent into mediocrity.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. absolutezero

    I kinda like my Windows Phone more than any other smart phone for the simple reason that it just kinda does what I need it to do with little else.

    I use it as a phone and to listen to music. Sometimes I check websites. It tells me things and takes pictures and a can txt people if I want to.

    It does not crash constantly or force me to use iTunes. Its fine by me.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Gadzooks!

    It’s *okay* for consuming, but absolutely fucking awful for contributing.

    WP has hands-down the worst text editing interface ever conceived.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. DrDamn

    I’ve just switched from a HTC HD7 (Windows 7) to a Nexus 4 (manufactured by LG). It’s like night and day and I quite liked WP7. Android has flourished into a quite exquisite phone OS.

    I hated the HTC part of my phone more than WP7 mind. Rubbish battery, rubbish camera, rubbish breaking wifi … will never buy HTC or WPx again.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. Ge0force

    Imo they entered the console race because they saw a lot of monetizing opportunities in gaming, and pc-gamers didn’t play along with them.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. DSB

    Step 1: Write book
    Step 2: Rile fanboys
    Step 3: Profit

    @15 What does it use though?

    I used to think iTunes was as bad as companion software could get right up until the point where I tried the one for the Zune. Talk about a trainwreck. That thing was just terrible through and through.

    #19 2 years ago
  20. Cobra951

    We should always take the word of disgruntled ex-employees with a grain of salt. The bad blood Kempin himself spews repeatedly needs some scrutiny.

    There’s no doubt in my mind that Ballmer is a control freak. Who ever heard of a wishy-washy CEO at a publicly held major corporation? They’re all pushy and demanding.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. Da Man

    You really confuse functionality with tinkering if you think WP lacks in comparison to Android. You probably think system administrators are programmers.

    Besides Android is the worst OS ever made bar steaming piles of shit like Symbian and disasters like Bada. For the sole reason it uses Java. It’s also neither nearly as smooth nor straightforward to use as iOS or WP.

    Only thing I didn’t like about WP was how it forces you to use social networks integration, that and the clumsy back button, iOS is still the only mobile OS which was indeed designed flawlessly.

    #21 2 years ago
  22. theevilaires

    “Sony’s descent into mediocrity”.

    Uncharted,InFamous,LBP,Eye of Judgement,cross play,Buzz,Heavy Rain,Sing Star,KillZone,Mod Nation Racers,Pixel junk Monsters,and Journey all say….Fuck you and die :)

    #22 2 years ago
  23. Da Man

    Very well said in regards to Sony, #14.

    #23 2 years ago

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