Why did Microsoft enter the console market in 2001 with the original Xbox? Well, if you believe former VP of Windows Sales at Microsoft Joachim Kempin, the company jumped into the market because it wanted to "stop" Sony. Speaking to IGN, the former Microsoft executive (and the man Business Week nicknamed "Microsoft's enforcer") claims that top executives at the company – including founder Bill Gates – were concerned that Sony's PlayStation console would eventually trespass into territory it dominated – the home PC market.
"The main reason was to stop Sony," he said in an interview with IGN. "You see, Sony and Microsoft… they never had a very friendly relationship, okay? And this wasn't because Microsoft didn't want that."
"Sony was always very arm's length with Microsoft," he continued. "Yeah, they bought Windows for their PCs but when you really take a hard look at that, they were never Microsoft's friend. And Microsoft in a way wanted them to be a friend because they knew they had a lot of things we could have co-operated on because they are, in a way, an entertainment company, you know?"
"I mean, at least a portion of Sony is and they had some really good things going there, but as soon as they came out with a video console, Microsoft just looked at that and said 'well, we have to beat them, so let's do our own.'"