In the new Xbox browser-based museum that celebrates the console’s 20th year anniversary, Microsoft showed a snippet of the letter it sent to Nintendo as part of its past campaign to acquire the Japanese company.
Sent in 1999 from Nick Thompson, Microsoft’s former VP of hardware, to Jacqualee Story, Nintendo of America’s former Executive VP of business, the letter is mostly obscured. However, there are snippets of legible text.
The letter begins with, “Dear Jacqualee, I appreciate you taking the time to try to arrange a meeting with Mr. Takeda and Mr. Yamauchi to discuss a possible strategic partnership between Nintendo and Microsoft on future video game platforms. I understand Mr. Takeda’s concerns about the possible partnership and will try to [illegible] the guidelines he has requested.”
Other sections of the letter go on to mention Project Dolphin, the code name for GameCube. It’s uncertain what Microsoft is stating in the letter about Dolphin to Nintendo, due to the giant text overlaid on the document–a pity, since it’d be interesting to see how Microsoft tried to use its then-new project to pitch Nintendo.
We do know from a Bloomberg article chronicling the history of Xbox that Microsoft’s attempt to acquire Nintendo were pretty much rebuffed completely. Former Xbox executive Kevin Bachus recalled, “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.”
Microsoft made a second attempt in 2000 to try to partner with Nintendo, with the idea of Nintendo handling the “game portion,” while Microsoft worked on the hardware–more technical–part. The talks did not work out, and so a joint venture possibility between the two companies was nixed.
In any case, if you’re interested in the history of Microsoft’s flagship gaming console, check out the interactive Xbox browser-based exhibit . You get to see avatars of other visitors, as well as much more about how the Xbox came to be.
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