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Xbox chief's sudden exit reportedly due to upcoming Microsoft reorganization

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Don Mattrick Xbox Microsoft
Don Mattrick Xbox Microsoft

Don Mattrick, the former Microsoft executive who oversaw the Xbox business, has taken over as Zynga CEO in a rapid move just weeks after the Xbox One unveiling and E3. His surprising and sudden exit may not have been a result of recent Xbox blunders, but more to do with Microsoft's upcoming reorg. Fast Company has profiled Mattrick, and notes that his exit was reportedly spurred by a Microsoft reorganization that would have seen him taking charge of a newly created hardware division. Mattrick is said to have wanted a bigger role within Microsoft, and his decision to look for a gaming CEO job would appear to back that up.

Fast Company depicts Mattrick as a visionary who was able to turn the Xbox business around. Described as an autocratic boss, Mattrick is said to lack patience for people who don't deliver, and scares employees to ship games on time. In recent weeks Mattrick has been struggling to deliver the Xbox One message alongside his fellow executives. His decision to recommend the Xbox 360 to those without an internet connection for the Xbox One offended gamers, and he was forced to defend the console's $499 price tag after Sony announced its $399 pricing for the PlayStation 4.

Ballmer takes charge just months before Xbox One

It's clearly been a challenging few weeks for all involved with Xbox, resulting in a U-turn on policies around used games and a 24-hour internet check in. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is now taking direct control over the Xbox business, just four months before the company is due to ship its next-generation Xbox One console. Unlike former Windows chief Steven Sinofsky's sudden departure, Microsoft has not named a temporary or immediate successor to Mattrick. Fast Company speculates that the company may look to Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft Studios, as a replacement to Mattrick. The choice will likely depend on the direction that Microsoft is taking with its rumored reorg, a change that is said to be imminent.