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Microsoft tried to acquire Nintendo before starting its Xbox business, but was laughed out of the room during their meeting

Posted on January 6, 2021 by (@NE_Brian) in General Nintendo, News

Microsoft has been going strong with the Xbox brand for a few generations of hardware. Originally though, the company could have pursued a much different path.

Revealed as part of a feature from Bloomberg, it turns out that Microsoft originally approached various companies about acquisitions two decades ago, including Nintendo. But when the two sides met, Nintendo was “just laughing” the entire time. That’s according to Kevin Bachus, the former director of third-party relations at Microsoft.

Here’s the full excerpt from Bloomberg:

BOB MCBREEN: (head of business development) The first company we reached out to buy was EA. They said, “No, thanks,” and then Nintendo.

BACHUS: Steve [Ballmer, former Microsoft CEO] made us go meet with Nintendo to see if they would consider being acquired. They just laughed their asses off. Like, imagine an hour of somebody just laughing at you. That was kind of how that meeting went.

It turns out that Microsoft’s talks with Nintendo didn’t end with just an acquisition. Microsoft was willing to handle hardware for the Big N with the Xbox, but it was something that never panned out.

As mentioned in the Bloomberg piece:

MCBREEN: We actually had Nintendo in our building in January 2000 to work through the details of a joint venture where we gave them all the technical specs of the Xbox. The pitch was their hardware stunk, and compared to Sony PlayStation, it did. So the idea was, “Listen, you’re much better at the game portions of it with Mario and all that stuff. Why don’t you let us take care of the hardware?” But it didn’t work out.

BALLMER: I remember loving their content.

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