Netflix founder to stop serving on Microsoft board, speculation ensues

The founder and chief executive of Netflix, Reed Hastings, announced yesterday he won't seek re-election to Microsoft's board of directors.

According to a press release from Microsoft, Hastings made the move merely to reduce the number of boards he serves on outside of his duties as Netflix chief executive. His decision means Hastings will no longer serve on the board past Microsoft's annual shareholder meeting next month. Additionally, Microsoft will have to find a new lead independent director, as Hastings has filled that position on Microsoft's board.

Hastings has served on Microsoft's board since March 2007 and he also serves on Facebook's board of directors, among others.

Hastings's announcement has met with speculation from Eric Savitz of Forbes that Microsoft may either be planning a service that would rival Netflix or possibly working on a deal with the movie- and television-streaming company. Savitz theorizes that Microsoft may be preparing an overhaul of its Xbox Live service that could feature services similar to Netflix.

Another possibility, Savitz writes, is that Microsoft could be considering making a bid for Netflix and Hastings stepped down to avoid a conflict of interest. Netflix's market capitalization of $3.6 billion would put the company within Microsoft's reach.

Via: Forbes
Source: Microsoft | Image via Netflix

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Windows 8 shows up on Amazon UK, confirms box art

Next Story

Bing to allow you to download backgrounds natively

13 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

I wonder if Sony would even lease its movie to Microsoft, whether Microsoft buys Netflix or makes their own service. Sony Pictures Entertainment makes lots of popular movies, and I'm not sure that Sony would be willing to lease its films/TV shows over to Microsoft, purely for avoiding giving Xbox users another advantage against its PlayStation. Even if Microsoft gave them a good deal.

Nah, the Netflix brand is too strong for MS to simply absorb it into Xbox services. I'm sure there's someone at Google that wants to rebrand YouTube as 'Google+ Video' or something, but that kind of thing just doesn't happen.

It makes sense that they would buy Netflix or launch a competitor as Ballmer just said Microsoft is becoming a services company. I could see MS owning Netflix similar to Skype, though I doubt MS would want to take on the disc by mail business. I guess it really depends on how many subscribers Netflix has and their global reach/how many countries they're in.

Personally I can see Netflix getting swallowed up by Microsoft's Entertainment division and becoming part of the Xbox brand. Keeping it standalone on all other platforms (PS3 and next gen) but changing it to Xbox Movies, Xbox TV and a new brand for streaming sports/concerts Xbox There.

Bryer said,
Personally I can see Netflix getting swallowed up by Microsoft's Entertainment division and becoming part of the Xbox brand. Keeping it standalone on all other platforms (PS3 and next gen) but changing it to Xbox Movies, Xbox TV and a new brand for streaming sports/concerts Xbox There.

idk netflix has a pretty strong brand, if they are bought, the only thing i see happening is their name being augmented somehow.

jorel009 said,

idk netflix has a pretty strong brand, if they are bought, the only thing i see happening is their name being augmented somehow.

I agree, the name would be changed for the Xbox platform and Windows intergration only. With Netflix name remaining for all other platforms.

Or maybe Netflix is launching their own OS? To date MS has done a poor job of spreading their media services throughout the world, thats not going to change now.

MS buying Netflix would be a great move. I get insulted when I look at the $3.99 - $4.99 movie rentals and I feel respected as a consumer and not taken advantage of when I look at the Netflix model of $9/month. They obviously need to boost the content but I like being able to dial up content on demand at such a cheap price.

jimmyfal said,
MS buying Netflix would be a great move. I get insulted when I look at the $3.99 - $4.99 movie rentals and I feel respected as a consumer and not taken advantage of when I look at the Netflix model of $9/month. They obviously need to boost the content but I like being able to dial up content on demand at such a cheap price.

MS should launch a similar service. They already own enough.

If Microsoft are offering a music streaming service I imagine a movie one isn't far behind and they probably want a piece of the pie.

I remember there was talk of Netflix not being allowed behind the Xbox Live Gold pay wall in the future as they want anyone with a capable device to access it for free. Much like the BBC with iPlayer. Perhaps Netflix is trying to force this now. Surprised other media companies don't, why limit your audience on Xbox to less than half the user base, could be less. Gold only helps Microsoft.