Former Microsoft exec reveals failed Sega acquisition, lack of ‘muscle’ to blame

Friday, 8th February 2013 11:00 GMT By Dave Cook

Microsoft wanted to buy Sega at one point, according to former Microsoft exec and this week’s chief bean-spiller Joachim Kempin. Bill Gates clubbed the idea to death after he deemed that Sega lacked ‘muscle’ to help it defeat Sony in the console arms race.

Speaking with IGN, Kempin explained the saga, “There were three companies at that point in time, I think this was [Sony,] SEGA and Nintendo.

“There was always talk maybe we buy SEGA or something like that; that never materialised, but we were actually able to license them what they call Windows CE, the younger brother of Windows, to run on their system and make that their platform.”

He’s talking about Windows CE support on Sega’s Dreamcast console by the way. He then continued, “But for Bill [Gates] this wasn’t enough, he didn’t think that SEGA had enough muscle to eventually stop Sony so we did our own Xbox thing.

“There were some talks but it never materialised because SEGA was a very different bird. It was always Sony and Nintendo, right? And Nintendo had some financial trouble at that point in time, so Sony came out with the PlayStation and bang! They took off, and everyone else was left behind.”

Kempin’s claims follow quotes from the man earlier this week, that claimed Microsoft entered the console race purely to stop Sony and to dominate the console market itself. The two companies have never gotten along well, he suggested.

What’s your take on this? Should have both companies bandied together? Let us know below.



  1. viralshag

    More stuff from this guy? Might as well just slap an advert for his book in there with every article. I don’t even think “this might of happened/that didn’t happen” is even news worthy.

    Don’t want to be “one of those people” but is any of this even relevant to anything?

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Dave Cook

    @1 Chill out ;)

    Yes it is relevant.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. viralshag

    It just seems like a mountain out of a molehill thing here: “There was always talk maybe we buy SEGA or something like that; that never materialised” turns into a “failed acquisition”?

    Like, I’m not trying to be a dick but these just seems like office water cooler chat…

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Gadzooks!

    It’s games-related news, this is a games-related news site.

    Doesn’t get much simpler than that. ;)

    #4 2 years ago
  5. ps3fanboy

    fuck mickey$oft they have no chance against sony and its playstation. when ps4 arrive they are out of the console business for good… mark my words!!

    #5 2 years ago
  6. viralshag

    @4, Yeah I get that but this seems more like rumour than an actual fact of a “failed aquisition”. It’s no more news than me starting a blog and stating that while I worked for MS there was rumblings about them making a move to buy EA.

    Like I said, this isn’t really “news”, it’s a sales plug from someone trying to sell his book… Each to their own I guess.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Telepathic.Geometry

    @viral: Congratulations, you have become “one of those people”…

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Myth

    @2 You’re still doing a disservice to your readers by putting up his claims without too much qualification.

    Microsoft entered the console race at a time when they were shifting a lot of focus towards the living room in general, both with the Xbox and with the Media Center software.

    “Just to stop SONY” makes it seem like they just wanted to hurt SONY, this isn’t really a serious statement of business motivation at that level.

    MS wanted (still do) to be the primary platform for computing around your TV and in your living room in general, and this was a space dominated by SONY, Sega and Nintendo before they entered the market – now it is a space fought over by Microsoft, SONY and various TV-players.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. viralshag

    @TG, It had to happen sometime…

    But #8 says it a little better than I do.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Hellhound30x

    Good to know… imagine if MS had bought Sega… that would have been crazy… lol…

    #10 2 years ago
  11. orakaa

    It’s related to news, so I won’t debate the presence of this article. It’s genuine.

    But this former exec really is an “attention wh*re”. He only speaks vaguely about rumors, things that “could have been”, with a lot of “probably” or “right?” in his sentences, like he doesn’t even know what he’s really talking about. Sounds more like gossips made so that people talk about him and might buy his book.

    This guy is not interesting.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Dave Cook

    @8 What? That actually makes no sense. The guy is a former MS exec. He has written an expose book on the matter. How much more validation to you need?

    Ridiculous statement.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. viralshag

    So MS actually made a move to aquire Sega? That’s the news here?

    #13 2 years ago
  14. orakaa

    @13: we don’t know. It looks like they were “thinking” about it at one point. I thought the news was about a possible acquisition after SEGA left hardware construction. And when we see what has happened with companies like RARE… I’m not sure anything good would have come of such an acquisition (well even without it, to me, SEGA lost their touch and haven’t done anything I wanted to play, when, before, they were one of my favorite developer).

    But yeah, I wish SEGA could have remained on hardware, with Microsoft pushing things behind. Could have been really interesting.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Clupula

    I could have sworn I’ve heard interviews from former Sega people that pretty much back up his statement.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Dave Cook

    @15 yeah it’s true. Sega also helped Microsoft lay the frame for Xbox Live.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. Cobra951

    @12: The point is that the source is questionable–an ex-employee who gives every indication of having an ax to grind. That’s why anything he says (and he has been saying a lot, apparently) needs validation, from a separate, credible source. Otherwise, it is no more than gossip.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. dizzygear

    Its not exactly new Sega and MS close at some point so it would hardly be surprising if MS wanted to buy to them at one point. Remember the crapload of exclusives for the Xbox from Sega?

    God was i pissed when Toejam and Earl 3 and Panzer Dragoon Orta were Xbox exclusives back then. Actually it still pisses me off since Panzer Dragoon Orta crashes on PAL 360′s.
    Where is that HD re-release of that game Sega?

    #18 2 years ago

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