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

By Dave Cook
7 February 2013 08:23 GMT

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.

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