Microsoft shares letter from when it tried to buy Nintendo

Microtendo... Ninsoft... yeah this just wouldn't have worked

As part of the platform’s 20th anniversary, Microsoft has shared part of the letter it sent to Nintendo in 1999 when it wanted to buy the company.

This was before the launch of the original Xbox in 2001, and can be found by going to the Xbox museum website and exploring the history of the original Xbox (thanks, Kotaku).

As we learned earlier this year, the desired acquisition had embarrassing results, as Xbox founding member Kevin Bachus said: “[Nintendo] just laughed their asses off. Like, imagine an hour of somebody just laughing at you. That was kind of how that meeting went.”


Original Xbox
Original Xbox. Credit: Microsoft

To commemorate this gigantic swing and a miss, Microsoft has shared part of a letter sent by VP of hardware Rick Thompson to Nintendo, and it has some interesting details. Thompson called the proposal a “possible strategic partnership” and said that he “understands Mr. Takeda’s concerns” about the potential deal.

There’s also mention of working with “Nintendo to help make Dolphin (that’s the codename for the GameCube) the best video game [console]”, but the rest of the details are covered, likely because Microsoft doesn’t want to share every little intricacy of the deal.

It does mention that Thompson would be going into a meeting with some Nintendo executives, and this was likely the one where the proposition was promptly laughed out of the room.

All in all, the virtual Xbox museum appears to be quite the open look at the platform’s history, as there’s mention of the infamous red ring of death on Xbox 360s, and the heavily stunted launch of the Xbox One thanks to issues like price, Kinect, and always needing to be online.


In other news, former Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé hosted a roundtable with some Xbox visionaries and said that “the industry is better because of the Xbox”.