dealwithitMicrosoft apologized this afternoon for comments made by an employee to critics of the company’s reported plan to require an Internet connection to play games in the next version of the Xbox console.

Adam Orth, a Microsoft Studios creative director, had posted on Twitter, “Sorry, I don’t get the drama around having an ‘always on’ console. Every device now is ‘always on’. That’s the world we live in. #dealwithit.” His tweets have since been set to private.

Here is Microsoft’s official statement, via Xbox Live’s Major Nelson.

“We apologize for the inappropriate comments made by an employee on Twitter yesterday. This person is not a spokesperson for Microsoft, and his personal views do not reflect the customer centric approach we take to our products or how we would communicate directly with our loyal consumers.  We are very sorry if this offended anyone, however we have not made any announcements about our product roadmap, and have no further comment on this matter.” 

As noted in the statement, the company isn’t actually confirming that it plans to require an Internet connection. In that way, it seems like the bigger deal here is that Orth implicitly confirmed the company’s plans, or at least appeared to confirm them.

Putting that aside, even if you disagree with his thoughts on the merits of a persistent Internet connection, is it really that bad that he spoke his mind in a way that didn’t happen to be “customer centric”?

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  • Temia Eszteri

    As I’ve said on Twitter, it’s not about whether or not he spoke in a “customer-centric” manner, but rather that he was flagrantly displaying ignorance and a very limited upper-middle-class viewpoint. Someone with that high of a position in the company should not be that narrow-minded or else huge mistakes will be made that will cause the company’s reputation amongst wider communities to suffer.

    • Lee Pridemore

      Dear Temia, I would like to invite you to visit my new food truck A Very Limited Upper-Middle Class Stewpoint that has begun operating in the greater Seattle area. We serve a very limited menu of flagrantly ignorant dishes and look forward to the opportunity to serve you.

    • guest

      A little late for that – MS’s reputation has been systematically destroyed over the last decade plus. And stupid comments from senior Microsoft executives is now expected, starting with its CEO and working its way down.

  • orcmid

    Concerning the last question on this article, I don’t think it matters what opinions I have on the particular pronouncement by a Microsoft employee.
    I remember Scoble remarking that the guidance to ‘softies with blogs was “don’t be stupid.”
    However that might apply here, when one identifies as an employee of an organization, that organization and conditions of the employment become factors of great weight. Not my opinion.

  • Mary Branscombe

    what he’s mostly guilty of is forgetting that twitter isn’t a private conversation with a friend

  • Nocomment

    Former creative director of MGS. As of today.

  • FormerMS

    I think this is a massive lasp in judgment for this xbox employee, I feel bad for him actually. I could totally see how just joking around with your friends and you tweet during it.

    But at the end of the day he’s a public persona in Xbox, and the move was just plain stupid.

    Hopefully he doesnt get canned because of it.. but it’s not a good thing right at review time which is around the corner.

  • Nathan O

    I have yet to hear anyone bring up one of the potential positives of an “always online” console. MS is in a prime position to incorporate cloud processing into the infrastructure of their dev kit. This would allow developers to use MS servers so the console and the servers could both do heavy lifting. MS already set the standard with Xbox live utilizing their own servers for all communications (including in game voice chat) and giving developers easy access to these features for them to incorporate into their games. Do not underestimate MSFT, we still know nothing about this console other than a few negative rumors. Their innovation is often underrated.

  • Michael Hazell

    A always-on internet connected console is good and bad. It is bad for folks who don’t have an internet connection, but for those that do it helps keep piracy in check, etc.

  • Rajeev

    Okay, maybe I’m being dense, but I don’t see what’s wrong with his Tweet — at all. He didn’t insult anyone. What are people offended about? He just stated an opinion. Sheesh folks … get a thicker skin.

  • guest

    It was a pretty stupid thing to tweet, but MS employees say stupid things on twitter all the time. Some even openly disparage MS products. So why are they singling out this one for an apology?

  • Redmondo

    This kind of managers are the 85% of managers of medium level in MS, almost stupid and lack of common sense. Anyway, who cares? The big machine still provides benefits and make money. Still. Yet.

  • Forrest Corbett

    There are vast parts of the US, and the world, that don’t have stable internet access. And for these people, often a console is a form of entertainment. I don’t know how big of a market that is for them, perhaps too small, but it will push those customers to other consoles.

  • Momito

    I don’t use my XBOX, its been sitting around collecting dust. I have not turned it on in over a year. So please feel free to do whatever you want to the XBOX or Windows 8 and your phones Microsoft.

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