Don Mattrick to leave Microsoft for CEO position at Zynga

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By Andrew Levy

As we discussed last week, Microsoft is expected to make some big internal changes to the structure of the company. The first major change happened today, but in a rather unexpected fashion. Effective July 8th, Microsoft’s head of Interactive Entertainment (the Xbox division) Don Mattrick will be stepping down from his role in Redmond to take on the CEO position at Zynga.

This is a somewhat unexpected move considering the Xbox One was formally announced only a few weeks ago. However, Mattrick’s departure is not entirely shocking considering the amount of flack and protest Microsoft encountered due to the DRM restrictions featured on the One. Since the announcement of the Xbox One, Microsoft has backtracked on virtually all of the DRM policies.

Again, Mattrick is going to take control of Zynga on July 8th. Current CEO and founder Mike Pincus will remain at the company as chairman and chief product officer.

Update:

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer wrote an email to all MS employees, speaking of Mattrick’s departure:

From: Steve Ballmer
Sent: Monday, July 1, 2013
To: Microsoft – All Employees
Subject: Don Mattrick’s Next Chapter

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.

Since joining IEB more than six years ago, Don and his team have accomplished much. Xbox Live members grew from 6 million to 48 million. Xbox 360 became the No. 1 selling console in North America the past two years. We introduced Kinect and have sold more than 24 million sensors. We released fantastic games, and, most importantly, we expanded Xbox to go beyond great gaming to deliver all the entertainment people want — sports, music, movies, live television and much more.

In the past month, the IEB team showed for the first time here on our Redmond campus, and again at E3, how we are going to continue to transform entertainment with Xbox One. I am incredibly proud of the work and vision culminating in Xbox One.

I’m particularly excited about how Xbox pushes forward our devices and services transformation by bringing together the best of Microsoft. The consoles are incredible all-in-one devices with built-in services that consumers love, including Bing, Xbox Live, Internet Explorer, SkyDrive and Skype. And, just as important, Xbox Games, Xbox Video, Xbox Music and SmartGlass light up Windows PCs, tablets and phones.

Thank you, Don, for setting us on a path to completely redefine the entertainment industry. The strong leadership team at IEB and their teams are well positioned to deliver the next-generation entertainment console, as well as transformative entertainment experiences, long into the future.

Steve

source: Microsoft

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3 thoughts on “Don Mattrick to leave Microsoft for CEO position at Zynga

  1. There seems to be quite a bit of flux in the gaming world. Not only were the next gen systems announced, but we’ve got Zynga in financial trouble and Xbox receiving a ton of flack for the proposed policies. It is interesting to see him switch companies so soon after the announcement (and subsequent 180). He was also rumored to be of the top candidates for the vacant EA CEO position, a company he used to work for. Obviously, he did not go to EA, but that still doesn’t diminish the restructuring going on. Also, Square Enix’s CEO has “stepped down” and is now Chairman of the Board.

    Lots going on just before Next-Gens hit the shelves!

    • There sure is a lot going in. I thought it was pretty interesting that he stepped down from MS to join Zynga of all places, especially when EA could have been a possibility like you said.

      Then again, he could have been looking for a smaller company to join. Maybe the whole Xbox One DRM debacle left a poor taste in is mouth. Though its not like Zynga is a saint in the gaming community.

      • Stepping in to a smaller company is a strong possibility. Get out of the spotlight for a bit and see if he can turn them around.

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