Ballmer Tries to Sell Studios on the Xbox One in Hopes of Competing in the Living Room
Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer personally paid a visit to Hollywood last week in an effort to sell television studios on his company’s forthcoming Xbox One game console and media center. The details were recently revealed by Deadline
, which reported that Ballmer was accompanied by Microsoft Entertainment Studios President Nancy Tellem. The pair reportedly met with executives at the network CBS, talent agency William Morris Endeavor, and “other bigwigs in the TV business.”
Ballmer has supposed pitched executives on the functionality and potential of the Xbox One as it relates to “sports, music, reality, and scripted programming.” The CEO reassured content providers that Microsoft isn’t interested in becoming a “cable channel.”
For those of you who didn’t already know, Ballmer doesn’t have any preexisting relationship with Hollywood, which is the opposite situation of late Apple cofounder Steve Jobs, who owned Oscar-winning animation studio Pixar before selling it to Disney. Jobs was also a member of the Walt Disney Co. Board of Directors and the relationship between him and the company led to a number of content deals over the years for Apple’s iTunes and the App Store. Specifically, before he was Disney’s current CEO, Bob Iger worked closely with Jobs to bring Disney’s movie and TV content to iTunes at a time when other major studios hesitated to ink a deal with Apple. Iger is now a member of Apple’s board as well.
As of right now, Apple’s current situation may also require them to take their own trips to Hollywood to woo content providers, especially if longstanding rumors of a full-fledged television set or expanded set-top box are true. Speculation has suggested that the difficulties in securing deals with content providers have been one of the main hurdles keeping Apple from making a larger push into the living room. In the meantime, Microsoft hopes to make an even bigger splash this fall with the debut of its new Xbox One gaming console, which will be the successor to the Xbox 360.
Some of the main features found in Microsoft’s new console include an HDMI input, allowing the Xbox One to integrate with and even control existing cable boxes and other home entertainment systems. Microsoft will be able to provide users with its own entertainment experience without the need to obtain the necessary licenses from content providers and cable companies.
Ultimately we’ll have to see how Microsoft and Apple both fare in the future by being patient.