Microsoft tried to acquire Nintendo before the Xbox but was laughed out of the room
Once upon a time, before there was the Xbox. Microsoft sought to acquire various companies in aid of getting its own console off the ground. EA was there and said a nice and polite “No, thanks”.
Nintendo was asked too, but according to a new feature from Bloomberg, their response was a bit less cordial.
Here’s what they said.
BOB MCBREEN: (head of business development) The first company we reached out to buy was EA. They said, “No, thanks,” and then Nintendo.
BACHUS: Steve [Ballmer, former Microsoft CEO] made us go meet with Nintendo to see if they would consider being acquired. They just laughed their asses off. Like, imagine an hour of somebody just laughing at you. That was kind of how that meeting went.
Not only was just buying Nintendo on the cards, Microsoft actually suggested that Nintendo’s hardware stunk, and that they could handle that and Nintendo bring their games.
MCBREEN: We actually had Nintendo in our building in January 2000 to work through the details of a joint venture where we gave them all the technical specs of the Xbox. The pitch was their hardware stunk, and compared to Sony PlayStation, it did. So the idea was, “Listen, you’re much better at the game portions of it with Mario and all that stuff. Why don’t you let us take care of the hardware?” But it didn’t work out.