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Microsoft CEO candidate could sell Xbox and shut Bing

Looking to get hold of an Xbox this Christmas? Listen up, as Microsoft CEO candidate Stephen Elop could consider selling the Xbox side of the business as well as shutting Bing if he is given the keys to the company.

Elop would consider focusing the company’s strategy around making the Office suite of programs available on a wider variety of tablets and smartphones, even those created by Apple according to three people with knowledge of his thinking that spoke to Bloomberg.

Two of those people stated that Elop thinks Microsoft can “create more value by maximizing sales of Office rather than by using it to prop up sales of Windows-based devices.”

Up until now the Office suite of products has been heavily tied to Windows Phone with apps created solely for that OS and inferior versions available on the two most popular mobile operating systems, iOS and Android.

When it comes to Xbox and Bing, people familiar with his thinking stated that Elop would be happy to sell or shut down parts of the business that would allow him to “sharpen the company’s focus”. Xbox, although healthy, would be part of this if it isn’t critical to the company’s strategy with Bing shuttered due to its failure to make a dent in Google’s lead in the search engine market.

Losing these two parts of the business would have a good effect on the company as a whole with Nomura Holdings analyst Rick Sherlund stating that a sale combined with other moves could increase fiscal 2015 earnings by 40 per cent.

“Microsoft is trying to do too much, and these assets add no clear value to the overall business,” Sherlund added, before stating that he thinks Mulally will get the gig.

Elop is a front-runner for the CEO position with rumours stating that he and Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally are the leading external candidates. Three insiders – strategy chief Tony Bates, enterprise software chief Satya Nadella, and COO Kevin Turner – are also though to be on the shortlist to succeed outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer.