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Xbox COO: Sony hack "bad for industry"

"We don't wish that upon anybody."

Microsoft's Dennis Durkin has said that the PlayStation Network hack earlier this year reflected poorly on the whole games industry and denied that anyone in the Xbox business enjoyed watching its biggest competitor suffer.

"It's bad for the industry that this has happened to Sony," Durkin, who is COO and CFO of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business, told our yeehaw rootin'-tootin' American cousins at IndustryGamers.

"It’s very, very bad. It’s very damaging. So we don’t wish that upon anybody and you've seen we’ve been actually pretty quiet on the subject because we don’t want to appear to even be looking to be taking advantage of somebody else’s situation like that. That’s just not in our DNA," he said.

Durkin pointed back to then Microsoft CEO Bill Gates' "Trustworthy Computing" memo in 2002 as an example of how seriously Microsoft takes – and has always taken – the security of its customers.

Gates had written: "We must lead the industry to a whole new level of Trustworthiness in computing... What I mean by this is that customers will always be able to rely on these systems to be available and to secure their information. Trustworthy Computing is computing that is as available, reliable and secure as electricity, water services and telephony."

Durkin said that sentiment was today ingrained into Microsoft's thinking across the whole of its Interactive Entertainment Business and beyond. "So we’re going to continue to do that and we don’t want to see any of our competitors hurt along the way," he said. "We think that’s bad for consumers."

Some might argue otherwise, however. Former Microsoft man Hussein Kanji, writing on question-and-answer site Quora.com about the Xbox company's competitive practices, last year put forward the argument that Microsoft often wins its business battles by keeping step and then taking advantage when its competition slips up.

"In virtually all of its major skirmishes with the rest of the software industry," Kanji, now a venture capitalist, wrote, "you notice Microsoft maintained a steady march (sometimes leveraging monopolistic behaviour, sometimes coming up with very clever ideas). But the fissure point for Microsoft to break into the category and become a winner usually emerged in the wake of a significant competitor mistake."

Microsoft's current executives though are united in their unspoken support for Sony's plight. Speaking to our other sister site GamesIndustry.biz recently, Microsoft's European executive VP of interactive entertainment Chris Lewis said the firm was sympathetic.

"Of course [we're sympathetic]. We're very mindful of what the competition's doing and we're actually genuinely respectful of them as a very worthy competitor in this space. I've said it a few times before and I really mean this – having great competition is what keeps everybody's output at a really high level. We all keep one another on our toes," he said.

"All I can say is that I'm sure they're working hard on rectification. We have always taken security very seriously, as I know they have, so we continue to have good rigor in the security of our 35 million Xbox Live audience."

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Tom Bramwell avatar

Tom Bramwell

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Tom worked at Eurogamer from early 2000 to late 2014, including seven years as Editor-in-Chief.

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