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Microsoft boss counters Xbox spin-off talk

"I have no intent to do anything different on Xbox than we are doing today."

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

Satya Nadella, the boss of Microsoft, has countered the suggestion from investors and analysts that its Xbox division should be sold.

At the Code Conference (reported on by The Verge), Nadella was asked, directly, whether he will spin off Xbox.

His answer: "I have no intent to do anything different on Xbox than we are doing today."

His comments follow those made by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who earlier this month said in an interview that he would "absolutely" support Nadella if he wanted to spin off Xbox.

Gates was asked: "Would you support him he wanted to spin off Xbox?"

His response: "Absolutely."

But Gates said spinning off Xbox wouldn't be "obvious" because of Microsoft's unified gaming strategy.

"We're taking PC gaming and Xbox gaming and bringing those a lot closer together," he said. "The power of the graphics chips means you can do great games there.

"So I'm sure Satya and the team will look at that. It's up to them. We're going to have an overall gaming strategy so it's not as obvious as you might think."

Gates' comment was taken as an indication that he felt Microsoft should spin off Xbox, and sparked the company into issuing a comment of its own.

Communications chief Frank Shaw told Eurogamer Gates' comments "were reflective of his support of Satya as CEO", and reiterated its support for Xbox.

"As Mr. Gates noted, Microsoft is committed to gaming across multiple platforms with Xbox as the centerpiece of our gaming strategy," Shaw added. "We remain committed to Xbox and the millions of Xbox fans around the world."

Microsoft has faced questions over a potential Xbox spin-off ever since Nokia chief Stephen Elop was reported to have considered selling the division if he took over the company.

But after Nadella got the top job the gaming business was reorganised so Xbox, Xbox Live and creative teams, which include Xbox Music, Xbox Video and Microsoft Studios, were unified under the control of Phil Spencer.

Xbox One launched in November 2013 and while it is selling at a faster rate than its predecessor, the Xbox 360, sales are lagging behind Sony's PlayStation 4.

Earlier this month Microsoft announced plans to sell Xbox One without Kinect for £349 - the same price as a PS4.

Microsoft is expected to push hard at the E3 trade show in June, where a number of high profile projects will be announced as part of a refocus on hardcore gamers.

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