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Don Mattrick pulls 180 leaving Microsoft for Zynga

Don Mattrick, the President of Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft is headed to Zynga as the CEO in hopes of turning around the company.

Chris Barnes

Don Mattrick, the President of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft has been with the company since 2007. His responsibilities in the position–include Xbox 360, XBLA, Xbox One, Kinect, PC, Mobile, interactive entertainment and more–have come to an end. Mattrick has been the main voice at Microsoft regarding everything Xbox for several years and apparently it’s time to move on. He has ruffled the feathers of consumers over the years saying the consumer should purchase a second HD for the Xbox 360 and backwards compatibility is just backwards.

Microsoft’s two press conferences announcing the Xbox One and its draconian DRM policies and stance on used games didn’t win him any new fans. These policies were later overturned and dubbed the Xbox 180 by gaming media and consumers alike. I’m not saying that Don Mattrick is a bad guy, but Microsoft’s DRM policies are one of the reasons I’m distancing myself from the Xbox. As bad as these policies are, they don’t tell the success stories Mattrick brought to Microsoft. In the past six years, the Xbox install base has grown to 76 million consoles and Xbox Live membership is over 48 million strong. Mattrick is also credited with bringing Kinect and the Xbox 360 together. Unfortunately the good times never last and it’s time for Don Mattrick to leave Microsoft for the greener pastures of Zynga.

Zynga has had its fair share of financial trouble since its IPO offering and lack of interest on Facebook. Zynga CEO Mark Pincus has been in talks with Mattrick for some time about Mattrick taking over the CEO position and breathing some much needed new life into the company. Don Mattrick is considered to be one of the top CEO’s and is experienced in turning around troubled companies. Mattrick was on a short list of candidates for the CEO position at EA after it’s former CEO was ousted from the position.

With Steve Balmer making massive changes restructuring Microsoft and the Xbox 180 debacle, more bad news isn’t what Microsoft needed. Regardless, we wish Don Mattrick the best in his new endeavor at Zynga.

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