Microsoft is going to have to do “meaningful work” to clean up Activision Blizzard’s toxic corporate culture, and the big boss doesn’t want to waste any time.
The announcement of the takeover of Activision – Blizzard by Microsoft has been at the center of many conversations lately. This is obviously a huge operation for the giant, which will further strengthen its already very solid position. But Microsoft will not only inherit the catalog of games: it also recovers the pans of the tandem, starting with the huge sexual harassment scandal that has plagued it in recent months. And to go up the slope, Satya Nadella has already said that he was going to undertake a considerable project.
“As CEO of Microsoft, the culture of our organization is my number one priority.”, he explains in a videoconference. “This means we must continually improve our employee experience and create an environment that allows us to focus on improving our culture every day.”
A big sweep to be expected
A very predictable and certainly unavoidable statement when you have just adopted a 70 billion dollar troublemaker with an unflattering reputation. But beyond the language of wood, it must be admitted that Microsoft seems to have put the small dishes in the big ones to prepare a transition as healthy as possible. At the start of the week, the New York Times revealed, for example, that the firm was reviewing its internal policy on sexual harassment.
Microsoft therefore seems determined to clear the way in order to avoid tarnishing its own image in contact with the defector. “This is a difficult work”, he warns. “It takes consistency, commitment and leadership that doesn’t just talk. That’s why we think it’s critical for Activision Blizzard to move forward on its new cultural commitments..“
“It means that after the takeover is formalized, we will have a lot of work to do to continue to build this culture”, he says. A formula that has certainly chilled some members of Activision Blizzard behind this media storm, starting with CEO Bobby Kotick himself.
Kotick clinging to his ejection seat
Present in the same videoconference as Nadella, the executive seems to be at an impasse. Robert Kotick was in vain to affirm his excitement vis-à-vis the “future incredibly exciting and exhilarating” of this new juggernaut, but he probably has no illusions; despite the jargon, he probably already knows that his future within the group is in jeopardy.
At present, the situation remains particularly nebulous. The initial press release claimed that he would be kept in his post, but many rumors, some of which are very serious, suggest that he could be ousted as soon as it is made official. We will therefore have to wait for the end of the buy-back process to know for sure.
The future will tell if Microsoft will be able to lead this “transition cultural” with success. We obviously wish it to all employees of Microsoft, Blizzard and Activision, but also to the entire community of players, because the future of certain legendary franchises partially depends on it.