Michael McWhertor, reporting for Polygon on what I consider the most eye-catching of the revelations from Microsoft’s botched document upload to the FTC:
But Xbox head Phil Spencer said in 2020 — a month before
Microsoft announced its plan to acquire ZeniMax and subsidiary
Bethesda Softworks — that his No. 1 pick for an acquisition or
merger is Nintendo. In emails leaked as part of the Federal Trade
Commission’s case to block the Microsoft-Activision Blizzard deal
in court, Spencer named Nintendo as “THE prime asset for us
Spencer discussed the possibility of an acquisition or merger with
Nintendo in an email with Microsoft executive Takeshi Numoto.
Spencer said that he’d “had numerous conversations with the
[leadership team] of Nintendo about tighter collaboration and feel
like if any US company would have a chance with Nintendo we are
probably in the best position.”
Two things stood in Microsoft’s way, according to Spencer: “The
unfortunate (or fortunate for Nintendo) situation is that Nintendo
is sitting on a big pile of cash,” and “they have a [board of
directors] that until recently has not pushed for further
increases in market growth or stock appreciation.”
I can’t imagine things going well for Nintendo — a company whose entire existence is based on their unique style, design, and taste — under Microsoft, a company infamous for having no taste.
And the translation for that last paragraph quoted above is that Nintendo is (a) profitable and (b) run by a board of directors who are interested not in a quick buck, but instead on stewarding the company’s continuing long-term success as a distinct and independent company.
Update: I either forgot this or never knew it, but Microsoft inquired about acquiring Nintendo back around 1999, before committing to designing and building its own hardware for the original Xbox.
★ Thursday, 21 September 2023