Microsoft founder Bill Gates would support CEO Satya Nadella if he wanted to spinoff the company's Xbox division, Gates said in a recent interview with Fox Business Network.
In response to questions about separating Bing and the Xbox division, and acknowledging that Microsoft has spun off products like Expedia and Slate, Gates said that separating Microsoft's Xbox gaming division from gaming as a whole at Microsoft isn't necessarily an "obvious" move.
"Well, we're taking PC gaming — Windows gaming — and Xbox gaming and bringing those a lot closer together," Gates said. "The power of the PC graphics chips means you can do great games there. So I'm sure Satya and the team will look at that, and, you know, it's up to them. But we're going to have an overall gaming strategy, so it's not as obvious as you might think."
Interviewer Liz Claman then asked Gates if he would support Nadella if he wanted to spin off the Xbox division.
"Absolutely," he said.
Earlier this year, The Washington Post reported that two "influential Microsoft shareholders" were pushing the company to abandon what they deem as non-essential efforts at the company, including the Bing search engine and the Xbox division. In a SXSW Gaming panel in March, Microsoft Game Studios head Phil Spencer said he'd had "explicit conversations with [Nadella and former Xbox divsision head Stephen Elop] about Microsoft's commitment to Xbox — they're extremely committed to Xbox."
Microsoft's board of directors named Nadella as its new CEO in early February. Gates also transitioned from his former role as chairman to a new role in which he will be "supporting Nadella in shaping technology and product direction."