Steve Ballmer Steps Into Don Mattrick's Shoes to Lead Xbox Division

Paul Lilly

New Xbox One boss is Steve Ballmer

Don Mattrick is out as Microsoft's President of Interactive Entertainment, and instead is headed to Zynga where he'll serve as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a social game maker in desperate need of guidance. That's all well and good for Zynga, but where does that leave Microsoft and its upcoming Xbox One launch? Squarely in the hands of Steve Ballmer, that's where, as confirmed by an open email from Ballmer to all of Microsoft's employees.

"Zynga announced today that Don Mattrick would be its new CEO, effective July 8. This is a great opportunity for Don, and I wish him success. Don’s directs will report to me and will continue to drive the day-to-day business as a team, particularly focused on shipping Xbox One this holiday," Ballmer stated in an email.

Ballmer went on to talk about Mattrick's accomplishments at Microsoft, how excited he is about the Xbox brand, and then closed out his message by thanking Mattrick for his contributions to date. All that's missing is a shiny bow and an oversized smile to complete the picture.

Does this seem a little bit suspect to anyone else? Just a few days ago, there were reports that Ballmer was spearheading a major restructuring effort within Microsoft, one in which very few top level executives were being consulted with, and suddenly Microsoft's Xbox boss is out the door, handing the reins to Ballmer on the way out.

In any event, the future of Microsoft's Xbox brand is now squarely in Ballmer's hands without a middle man.

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