Skip to main content

Microsoft allegedly tried to acquire Zynga before Xbox chief became CEO

Microsoft allegedly tried to acquire Zynga before Xbox chief became CEO

Share this story

Don Mattrick, the former Microsoft executive who ran the company's Xbox business, left for the Zynga CEO position earlier this month, but a new report claims he tried to acquire Zynga while he was still at Microsoft. Bloomberg reports that in 2010 Mattrick held negotiations with Zynga founder Mark Pincus about Microsoft buying games like FarmVille. The discussions reportedly fell through, and Zynga has since lost its top spot on the games list at Facebook.

An acquisition three years ago would have likely seen Microsoft integrate Zynga's web-based games into the Xbox Live platform ahead of greater web support with the Internet Explorer Xbox release and upcoming app features in the Xbox One. At the height of its popularity, FarmVille secured over 80 million users in early 2010 as the game gradually spread across Facebook.

Ballmer takes charge of Xbox for now

Mattrick's sudden exit, just four months ahead of the Xbox One release, was reportedly related to a rumored Microsoft restructuring expected to take place in the coming weeks. In a profile of Mattrick, Fast Company reported that he wanted a bigger role within Microsoft. Mattrick is now tasked with steering Zynga back to health after the loss of key talent and a struggling stock price. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has taken direct responsibility of the Xbox division ahead of the Xbox One release in November.